KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee will look to rebound from its season-opening loss last week as the Volunteers welcome BYU this Saturday for a primetime matchup under the lights at Neyland Stadium.
Both the Vols and Cougars will be looking to earn their first win of the season after season-opening losses last week.
Kickoff for Saturday’s contest is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on ESPN as Dave Pasch (PxP), Greg McElroy (analyst) and Tom Luginbill (sideline analyst) have the call.
Fans can also listen to Tennessee’s radio broadcast on the Vol Network (WIVK-FM 107.7) as well as satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 121, XM Ch. 192, Internet Ch. 963). Bob Kesling (PxP), Tim Priest (analyst) and Brent Hubbs (analyst) will call the action all season long.
Need to Know
Youngsters Making Immediate Impact
Tennessee had nine true freshmen play in its season opener against Georgia State last week, while three true freshmen started for the Vols. Wanya Morris started at left tackle, while defensive back Warren Burrell and linebacker Henry To’o To’o started on the defensive side. To’o To’o led UT with seven tackles, becoming the first true freshman to lead the team in tackles in a season opener since Dwayne Goodrich back in 1996.
Jennings Has Career Day in Opener
The Vols’ most experience player, redshirt senior wideout Jauan Jennings, had one of the most productive games of his career last week. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native set a new career high with seven catches for 108 yards and also scored the 11th touchdown of his career. Jennings needs just eight catches to crack UT’s career top 20 list.
Cimaglia is Money
Junior kicker Brent Cimaglia has continued to improve each and every season on Rocky Top. After finishing last season 10-for-13 on field goal attempts, the Nashville native was a perfect 3-for-3 last week with makes of 19, 31 and 48 yards and totaled 12 points against Georgia State. Cimaglia is now 21-for-29 on field goals for his career and has never missed an extra point (37-for-37).
Time and time again, Tennessee has rebounded from season-opening losses to put together successful seasons. The Vols will look to do so once again after last week’s loss to Georgia State.
1967: Opened the season with a 20-16 loss at UCLA and won the next nine games to win the SEC Championship and be named National Champions by one publication.
1981: Lost the first two games in blowouts (44-0 at Georgia and 43-7 at Southern Cal), but rallied to finish 8-4, including a bowl win over Wisconsin.
1988: Lost the first six games but won the last five to set the momentum up for the 1989 (11-1) SEC Championship team.
1994: Lost three of the first four games (including game one at UCLA and a 31-0 loss at home to Florida) before finishing 7-1 down the stretch to go 8-4 with a Gator Bowl win over Virginia Tech.
2007: Lost first game at California and rallied to finish 10-4, win the SEC East, play in the SEC Championship Game and beat Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.
There will be a lot going on around this Saturday’s game.
UTK 225th Anniversary: Tennessee will be celebrating the 225th anniversary of the UT-Knoxville campus by wearing helmet stickers, painting logos on the field and a video on the jumbotron.
VFL Weekend: VFLs are invited back to participate in the Vol Walk and partake in other scheduled events.
Pregame Flyover: The 134th Air Refueling Wing/Tennessee Air National Guard, stationed at the McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base will perform a pregame flyover.
Curing Kids Cancer: For the fifth year in a row, the Tennessee Volunteers will team up with Curing Kids Cancer to promote that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt will wear a lanyard with a gold whistle for the second straight year.
Beads of Courage/Special Spectators: UT is also partnering with the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital through the Beads of Courage and Special Spectators programs to provide children battling severe illnesses with a special gameday experience.
Series History: BYU
First Ever Meeting
Saturday will mark the first time that the Vols and Cougars have ever met on the gridiron. Tennessee is scheduled to make a return trip to Provo for the second leg of its home-and-home series with BYU in 2023.
The Vols and Cougs are two of the more storied programs in college football with 1,413 victories and seven national championships between them.
BYU is in its ninth season as an FBS Independent after leaving the Mountain West Conference back in 2010. In those nine seasons as an independent, the Cougars have posted a 61-41 record. BYU is led by fourth-year head coach Kalani Sitake, who is 20-20 since taking over in 2016. The Cougars dropped their season opener at home to No. 14 Utah last week. It was the ninth consecutive loss for BYU against its in-state rival.
While the offense mostly struggled against the Utes, sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson showcased his dual-threat ability by accounting for 251 yards of total offense (208 passing, 43 rushing). Wilson burst onto the scene midway through last season after an injury to starter Tanner Mangum, starting the last seven games. Wilson finished the year with 1,578 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions while completing nearly 66 percent of his passes. He also ran for 221 yards and two scores. Most notably, Wilson was a perfect 18-for-18 passing for 317 yards and four touchdowns in BYU’s 49-18 rout of Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
One of Wilson’s favorite targets is junior tight end Matt Bushman, who led the team with six catches for 62 yards in the loss to Utah. Bushman averaged over 17 yards per reception last season and caught two touchdowns while posting his second straight year with over 500 receiving yards.
BYU’s defense had 22 different players record at least one tackle last week, led by Austin Lee, Zayne Anderson and Kavika Fonua, who all had seven tackles each.