The Tennessee Volunteers come into their match-up against Auburn a little battered and bruised. The Vols will have to step up and play through the pain to shut down an undefeated Auburn team.
UT Running back Montario Hardesty suffered a knee injury last week against Ohio. Hardesty has been limited in practice but expects to play Saturday. This season has been a coming-out party for Hardesty and the Vols will need him to carry the football.
Nearly the entire Tennessee defense is dealing with minor injuries. Monte Kiffin will have to prepare this unit to face a high-octane Tigers offense. Auburn has scored over 35 points in each of their games so far.
However, everything isn’t as doom and gloom as it sounds for Tennessee.
This Auburn team remains largely untested and hasn’t proven if they are for real yet. So far Auburn has only played one SEC opponent, when they blew out a mediocre Mississippi State team.
Auburn runs a spread offense that has racked up high yardage and a ridiculous amount of points so far. The advantage Tennessee has in this game comes from playing Florida already. Monte Kiffin’s defense held the Gators to 23 points and as far as spread offenses go, Florida’s is the best.
The Vols will have the toughest defense Auburn has faced yet and the numbers should reflect that.
Even if Hardesty’s injury holds him back, freshmen backs Bryce Brown and David Oku should be able to pick up the slack. Tennessee should be able to rush for 150+ yards as a team.
The biggest question mark for the Vols in this game, as it is in every game, will be the play of Jonathon Crompton.
The Vols’ aerial attack has been up and down all season. If Crompton can manage the game and be accurate on important passing downs, Tennessee will be able to walk away with a win. But with the inconsistency Crompton has played with, it will be either hit or miss.
Just like any SEC matchup, this game could go either way. Auburn comes into this game undefeated but may be exposed as a pretender. The Vols gained some of their confidence back after keeping it close against Florida.
This game is a matchup between an over-achieving team and an under-achieving team. Whichever team plays to their full potential should come out on top.
My Tennessee-Auburn prediction: Tennessee – 27 | Auburn -21
Here are the particulars for tomorrow’s matchup:
Auburn Tigers (4-0) at Tennessee Volunteers (2-2)
- Auburn-Tennessee Kickoff Time: 7:45 PM ET
- Auburn-Tennessee TV: ESPN
- Auburn-Tennessee Location: Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee
- Auburn-Tennessee Point Spread: Tennessee -1.5
* – Jonathan Crompton photo credit: Rumors and Rants