FOOTBALL CENTRAL: Tennessee Homecoming vs. Southern Miss

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee will play Southern Miss on Saturday at Neyland Stadium in the Vols’ 94th Homecoming game. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network.

Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Jordan Rodgers (analyst) will be in the booth and Cole Cubelic will report from the sidelines. Vol Network radio affiliates will have a live audio broadcast with Bob Kesling, Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs. Sirius Channel 134 and XM Channel 191 will also carry a live audio broadcast.

Tennessee (3-5, 0-5 SEC) is coming off 29-26 road loss to Kentucky on Oct. 28. True freshman running back Ty Chandler had a breakout game, rushing 22 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns and redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano had his best game to date, going 18-for-23 for 242 yards. The UT defense forced a season-high four fumbles in the loss, marking Tennessee’s most since forcing four fumbles against Southern Miss on Sept. 8, 2007.

Southern Miss (5-3, 3-2 Conference USA) took a 30-12 home loss against UAB last week. Quarterback Keon Howard led the Golden Eagles offensively, completing 14 of 25 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown. The Southern Miss defense could not stop UAB running back Spencer Brown, who ran for 209 yards and one touchdown on 33 carries.

Tennessee-Southern Miss History

Tennessee is 5-0 all-time against Southern Miss and all five of those games were played in Knoxville.

The teams last squared off on Sept. 8, 2007, when Erik Ainge threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns in a 39-19 UT win.

The Vols are 22-2 against current members of Conference USA. UT’s last contest against a C-USA team was also on Homecoming in 2015, when the Vols defeated North Texas, 24-0.

UT and Southern Miss have also produced two of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all-time in VFL Peyton Manning and USM alum Brett Favre. Manning is the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards (71,940), passing touchdowns (539) and ranks second all-time in pass completions (6,125). Favre holds the NFL’s career record for completions (6,300) and ranks second in passing yards (71,838) and passing touchdowns (508). Manning is also second all-time in career wins (regular season and postseason) by a starting quarterback (200) and Favre ranks third (199).

Tennessee Homecoming History

Tennessee is 71-19-3 all-time in Homecoming games. The Vols are 3-1 in homecoming games under head coach Butch Jones with wins in each of the last three years.

UT’s last three Homecoming games have been one-sided on the scoreboard. In 2014, the Vols took a 45-10 win over Chattanooga. In 2015, Tennessee enjoyed a 24-0 win over North Texas. Last season, UT took a 55-0 win over Tennessee Tech.

Eleven-Straight Non-Conference Wins

The Vols have won 11-straight games against non-conference opponents since a 31-24, double-overtime loss to No. 19 Oklahoma on Sept. 12, 2015. UT has averaged 37.4 points in those 11 games while holding opponents just 14.3 points.

Tennessee is 3-0 against non-conference foes in 2017 with wins against Georgia Tech, Indiana State and UMass.

Chandler Enjoys Breakout Performance

Chandler rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns against Kentucky last week, becoming the first UT freshman to rush for 100 yards since Jalen Hurd rushed for 122 yards and two scores on 15 carries against Iowa on Jan. 2, 2015, in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

Chandler’s 120 rushing yards are the second-most by a SEC true freshman in a 2017 conference game, trailing only Florida rookie Malik Davis’ 124 yards against Vanderbilt on Sept. 30.

For the season, the Nashville native has 49 carries for 238 yards and two touchdowns, nine receptions for 101 yards and nine kickoff returns for 254 yards.

Daniel Making Case for Ray Guy Award

Redshirt senior punter Trevor Daniel is one of 78 final candidates for the Ray Guy Award, which is given to the nation’s top collegiate punter.

Through eight games this season, Daniel has 47 punts for 2,209 yards and a 47.0-yard average, which ranks second in the SEC and fourth in the nation. Daniel’s 19 punts inside opponents’ 20 and 21 punts of 50 or more yards lead the SEC. His 19 punts inside the 20 also rank fourth among Power Five schools.

His 45.6-yard average is the best in Tennessee history and ranks second among active NCAA punters, regardless of division.

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