KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – It’s Homecoming Week for the Tennessee Volunteers as they get ready to host Charlotte on Saturday afternoon at Neyland Stadium.
Kickoff for Saturday’s Homecoming game is set for 4 p.m. on the SEC Network Alternate channel. Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Barrett Jones (analyst) will have the call with Taylor Davis reporting from the sidelines. Vol Network radio affiliates will have a live audio broadcast with Bob Kesling, Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs. Sirius (Channel 94) and XM satellite radio (Channel 190) will also carry the game.
Saturday will mark the first-ever meeting between UT and Charlotte on the gridiron. The Vols are 1-0 against teams from Conference USA this season after defeating UTEP, 24-0, on Sept. 15.
Need to Know
95th Homecoming Game
Saturday’s contest between the Vols and 49ers will be the 95th Homecoming game in program history. Tennessee is 72-19-3 all-time on Homecoming and has won four straight Homecoming games dating back to the 2014 season. This week will be the 102nd Homecoming celebration at the University of Tennessee with the first coming back in 1916.
Winning Streaks at Neyland
The Big Orange have been very hard to beat in non-conference games played at Neyland Stadium. UT’s last non-conference home loss came in double overtime on Sept. 12, 2015 against Oklahoma. Since then, the Vols have won 10 consecutive non-conference home games. Even more impressive, Tennessee has won 29 straight home games against non-Power 5 opponents dating back to 2008.
Callaway Looks to Build Off Nine-Catch Performance at South Carolina
Junior wide receiver Marquez Callaway continues to lead the Vols’ receiving corps after posting a career-high nine catches last week at South Carolina. The Warner Robbins, Ga., native leads the team with a career-best 27 catches and 372 receiving yards heading into Saturday’s game against Charlotte.
True Freshman Duo Impressing at Corner
The duo of Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson has impressed at cornerback this season for UT. Taylor and Thompson are the only pair of true freshmen in the SEC to start a game together at corner this season, doing so three times now.
Thompson leads the team with two interceptions and has been named to the PFF College SEC Defensive Team of the Week three times this season. Taylor leads the team with two forced fumbles and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in UT’s upset victory at No. 21 Auburn a few weeks ago.
Charlotte has shown massive improvement this season after finishing with a 1-11 record in 2017. The 49ers enter Saturday’s contest at Neyland Stadium with a 4-4 record after posting a 20-17 victory over Southern Miss last weekend. Charlotte is led by sixth-year head coach Brad Lambert, who has amassed a 21-45 record during his time with the program.
The 49ers defense has led the way for the team this season, ranking 18th nationally in total defense (318.6 ypg). Led by redshirt senior linebacker Juwan Foggie and redshirt junior defensive end Alex Highsmith, Charlotte’s run defense enters Saturday’s game ranked sixth in the country, allowing just 89.8 yards per game on the ground. Foggie leads the FBS with six interceptions – two of which were returned for touchdowns – and is also third on the team with 40 tackles. Highsmith has racked up 30 tackles and leads the 49ers with 8.5 tackles for loss.
Offensively, Charlotte relies heavily on its ground game and junior running back Benny LeMay, who ranks third in Conference USA in rushing with 93.1 yards per game. The North Carolina native has posted three games with 100 or more rushing yards this year and also leads the team with six touchdowns.
Miami graduate transfer Evan Shirreffs is slated to make his third start of the season on Saturday after replacing injured starter Chris Reynolds. The Georgia native made his first-career start in a loss to Middle Tennessee two weeks ago before leading the 49ers to a 20-17 win against Southern Miss last Saturday. On the year, Shirreffs has completed 33-of-61 pass attempts for 405 yards, thrown two touchdowns and three interceptions, and has also rushed for a touchdown. Charlotte’s top pass catcher is redshirt freshman Victor Tucker, who has made 46 catches for 566 yards and two touchdowns. Tucker’s 70.8 receiving yards per game ranks third in the FBS among freshmen.