The Low Post News

UTAH State Tennessee: College Football Preview

Utah State at Tennessee, August 31, 7:00 PM:

This Sunday evening matchup features a Utah State team looking to make waves in the Mountain West after a 9-5 season, including a 7-1 conference record. The Volunteers are looking to improve in their second year under head coach Butch Jones after finishing 2013 at 5-7, going 2-6 in the SEC. For the Aggies, the key to this season is the return of a Heisman dark horse, senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who missed most of last season due to an ACL injury. Keeton is a highly capable dual-threat quarterback who, barring any medical setbacks, should be one of the most exciting players in the NCAA.

Utah State will look to Keeton for the majority of their offense as they lost both leading rushers and two of their top receiving threats from 2013. The Aggies will hope to pick up where they left off defensively, finishing 7th in the country in scoring defense. The Volunteers may not expect to contend for an SEC title, but, unlike in 2013, they do plan on playing in a bowl game. Tennessee is putting their bowl aspirations in the hands of senior quarterback Justin Worley, who is coming off of a disappointing season, and sophomore wide out Marquez North, the Vols’ leading receiver in 2013. The Volunteers hope the Worley­-North combo will generate enough offense to allow them compete with the defensive juggernauts in the SEC. Tennessee’s defense will rarely look the same in any game this year, as they have enough interchangeable personnel to have multiple defensive packages. The Volunteers’ defense is young and will be pressured from game one through the end of SEC play.

Keys to the Game

–          Utah State

  • Keeton will need to be at the top of his game to will his Aggies to a tough road victory in Knoxville. For Utah State to win, Keeton will have to excel on offense in order to make up for the Aggies’ lack of playmakers. The defense will look to stop the pass, ideally limiting any big plays from North.

–          Tennessee

  • Tennessee will look to beat the Aggies through the air, looking for a big day from Worley. The Volunteers are going to need to force someone other than Keeton to beat them. If Tennessee can shut him down, Utah State will have to turn to unproven skill players to carry the offense.

 

No key injuries to date

Line/Odds: Tennessee by +7 points

While Chuckie Keeton looks to start off his Heisman campaign with a signature road win over an SEC opponent, Butch Jones’ Volunteer squad wants to let the country know that they are ready to contend in one of the nation’s toughest conferences. Both teams will be fighting hard for a win in a matchup of entertaining offenses that should go down to the wire.

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