Can you pass the mustard?
- May 29, 2009
Tennessee closes out the season back in bowl action this year against the Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue is a solid Big 10 team which doesn't necessarily make them a menacing opponent... as every Big 10 team Tennessee has played the last decade can tell you. The Vols have routinely done away with Iowa, Northwestern, Nebraska and Indiana in recent years and look to keep their record against mid-tier northern teams intact. Most noteworthy is the fact that Purdue has two quality teams this year... beating then #2 Iowa (lol) and then #3 Michigan State.
Keys to Victory:
1. Is no one left?: This game looked fairly compelling when it was announced, but then Purdue players started dropping like flies. Big 10 WR of the year David Bell is off to the NFL as well as defensive end George Karlaftis. To add to that, wide receiver Milton Wright and cornerback Dedrick Mackey are not in Nashville with the team. Starting left tackle Greg Long is with the team, but is doubtful to play. The Vols will be without Alontae Taylor and possibly Cade Mays meaning they are bringing more of their A game to the table.
2. But will they play?: Purdue claims 97% vaccination rate amongst players. Tennessee does not list numbers but has a more friendly testing protocol assuring that this game has a high probability of making it into our eyeballs.
3. Defensive Keys: Tennessee has to have a suitable replacement for Alontae at CB and that looks to be "by committee" for now. Purdue is pitiful at rushing the football with a paltry 83 YPG and a non-mobile QB, which suits the Tennessee defense perfectly. How will Purdue do without their top 2-3 WR's? Probably not very good.
4. Offensive Keys: Big first quarter, lighting fast execution and big plays that make a national statement about the Tennessee Volunteers. Cedric Tillman needs about 70 yards to top 1,000 on the year which should be no issue.
Prediction: Tennessee doesn't have a problem here. It's a good time to get some PT for players who are not on the red-shirt line and see what you've got for next season while evaluating what you need from the transfer portal. Look for a dynamic first half to put this one on ice.