The Official Tennessee vs. Purdue Music City Bowl Game Thread, 3:00 PM ET, ESPN

#1

YankeeVol

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#1
TransPerfect Music City Bowl

Tennessee Volunteers: 7-5 (5-4 SEC)



vs.


Purdue Boilermakers: 8-4 (6-3 Big 10)



TRANSPERFECT MUSIC CITY BOWL | DEC. 30 | 2 P.M. CT | ESPN | NISSAN STADIUM (69,143)


Weather: Hi: 68 / Low: 53 // Precip: 1%


Line: UT -7.5
O/U: 66


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Purdue Game Notes


 
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#2

YankeeVol

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#2
Bowl Facts

Tennessee is going bowling for the 54th time in program history. That ranks fifth all-time behind Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Oklahoma. The Vols are 29-24 in bowl games, and those 29 victories rank seventh nationally. UT is making its third Music City Bowl appearance. The Vols topped No. 24 Nebraska, 38-24, in the 2016 game. UT dropped a 30-27 double overtime contest to North Carolina in the 2010 Music City Bowl.

Heupel is the fifth UT coach in the last 70 years to lead the Vols to a bowl berth in his debut season, joining Bill Battle (1970), Phillip Fulmer (1993), Lane Kiffin (2009) and Derek Dooley (2010). Of those previous four only Battle (def. Air Force in 1971 Sugar Bowl) won a bowl game in his first full debut season. Heupel has guided teams to a bowl berth in all four seasons as a head coach (three at UCF), and he is 1-2 in those previous games (lost to No. 11 LSU, 40-32, in 2019 Fiesta Bowl; def. Marshall, 48-25, in 2019 Gasparilla Bowl; lost to No. 16 BYU, 49-23, in 2020 Boca Raton Bowl).
 
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#3

YankeeVol

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#3
SERIES HISTORY

Boilermakers lead series, 1-0

Tennessee and Purdue have played just once previously, a 27-22 Boilermakers' victory in the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston. This will be the first time Heupel has faced a Big Ten opponent as a head coach. The last time he played a Big Ten opponent was ironically Purdue on Sept. 16, 2017, when he was the offensive coordinator at Missouri.
 
#4

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#4
ABOUT PURDUE

The Boilermakers, led by fifth-year head coach Jeff Brohm, enter the Music City Bowl off an 8-4 regular season in which they finished tied for second in the Big 10 West standings with a 6-3 conference record. Purdue is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and AFCA Coaches polls.

Veteran quarterback Aidan O'Connell leads an explosive offense that ranks second in the Big 10 in passing yards per game (340.2). O'Connell ranks third in the Big 10 with 3,174 passing yards and fourth in the league with 23 touchdown passes. However, he will be missing his top target in first-team All-American wideout David Bell, who elected to opt out of the game in order to prepare for the NFL Draft. Bell led the Big 10 with 93 receptions and 116.9 receiving yards per game this season. Junior wide receiver Milton Wright will look to pick up the slack after leading the team with seven touchdown catches this year.

The Boilermakers will also be missing one of their top defensive players in All-American defensive end George Karlaftis, who like Bell has opted out of the game to prepare for the NFL Draft. Karlaftis led the team with 11.5 tackles for loss and five sacks on the year. Purdue will have its leading tackler in senior linebacker Jaylan Alexander, who racked up 94 tackles and had 7.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and one forced fumble. Junior safety Cam Allen leads the Boilermakers' secondary with 56 tackles, a forced fumble and a team-high four interceptions.
 
#8

YankeeVol

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#8
Last Time Out

The Vols capped the regular season with a 45-21 victory over Vanderbilt on Senior Day. The Big Orange had a pair of 100-yard rushers for the second time this year as freshman Jaylen Wright and sophomore Jabari Small took 15 carries each for 112 and 103 yards, respectively. Tennessee averaged 6.8 yards per rush, totaling 285 yards on the ground for its fourth game above 250 yards rushing this season. Hendon Hooker delivered another efficient performance for UT, producing 231 total yards (156 passing, 75 rushing) and passing for a pair of touchdowns. Cedric Tillman led all receivers with six catches for 106 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Defensively, Theo Jackson opened the scoring with a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown, marking the third pick six this season for the Vols.
 
#9

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#9
Tillman Approaching 1K

Tillman has emerged as one of the SEC's top receivers this season, ranking sixth in the conference with a team-high 931 receiving yards, tied for fourth with nine touchdown catches and fifth in yards per reception (16.33). The redshirt junior is aiming to become just the eighth player in program history to reach 1,000 yards receiving in a season and the first since Justin Hunter (1,083) in 2012.

Tillman has recorded at least five catches in seven straight games and has also caught at least one touchdown pass in six consecutive games, becoming the first Vol to achieve that feat since Joey Kent did it in seven straight games to start the 1995 season.
 
#11

YankeeVol

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Fast, Fun, Real

A Josh Heupel specialty, Tennessee leads the nation in offensive plays per minute at 2.94. Ole Miss is second at 2.87. By comparison, the Vols averaged 2.36 a year ago, which was 58th in the FBS. UT averages 1.61 points per minute, which also leads the FBS. From 2018-20, Heupel's UCF teams averaged a nation-high 3.04 plays per minute.
 
#12

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#12
Record Watch

Tennessee enters the Music City Bowl with a chance to break a couple of school records. With 466 points scored this season, the Vols need just 19 to break the previous program record of 484, which was set back in 1993. UT is also just two touchdowns shy of tying the school record of 63 set by the 2016 team.
 
#13

volsrock09

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#13
ABOUT PURDUE

The Boilermakers, led by fifth-year head coach Jeff Brohm, enter the Music City Bowl off an 8-4 regular season in which they finished tied for second in the Big 10 West standings with a 6-3 conference record. Purdue is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and AFCA Coaches polls.

Veteran quarterback Aidan O'Connell leads an explosive offense that ranks second in the Big 10 in passing yards per game (340.2). O'Connell ranks third in the Big 10 with 3,174 passing yards and fourth in the league with 23 touchdown passes. However, he will be missing his top target in first-team All-American wideout David Bell, who elected to opt out of the game in order to prepare for the NFL Draft. Bell led the Big 10 with 93 receptions and 116.9 receiving yards per game this season. Junior wide receiver Milton Wright will look to pick up the slack after leading the team with seven touchdown catches this year.

The Boilermakers will also be missing one of their top defensive players in All-American defensive end George Karlaftis, who like Bell has opted out of the game to prepare for the NFL Draft. Karlaftis led the team with 11.5 tackles for loss and five sacks on the year. Purdue will have its leading tackler in senior linebacker Jaylan Alexander, who racked up 94 tackles and had 7.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and one forced fumble. Junior safety Cam Allen leads the Boilermakers' secondary with 56 tackles, a forced fumble and a team-high four interceptions.
I thought I read that Wright was out for tomorrow too? If that's the case, their QB could have a rough day with only playing with receiver's that have caught 1200 yards and 10 TDs this season once you take away Wright and Bells production for the year. He will probably look like a Heisman candidate as their 3rd and 4th string WR's have a day though;)
 

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