The Vols (4-2, 2-1 SEC) host No. 14 Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1) and former Vols coach Lane Kiffin on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network). UT and the Rebels are two of 11 FBS teams scoring more than 40 points per game.
Here is what you need to know about the matchup:
Tennessee scoring like it's 1993
Tennessee has scored at least 45 points in back-to-back games. It thrashed South Carolina 45-20 a week after wrecking Missouri 62-24.
If the Vols break the 45-point mark against Ole Miss, it would be the first time the Vols have scored at least 45 points in regulation in three straight games against SEC teams since 1993.
UT beat South Carolina 55-3, Kentucky 48-0 and Vanderbilt 62-14 in its final three SEC games in 1993, Phillip Fulmer's first as the full-time Vols coach. UT also beat Louisville, then an independent, 45-10 between the South Carolina and Kentucky wins.
Tennessee most recently scored at least 45 points in three straight games in 2016, topping Tennessee Tech, Kentucky and Missouri.
Can the Vols corral Matt Corral?
Ole Miss has arguably the best quarterback in the SEC and perhaps nationally in junior Matt Corral.
Corral has accounted for more than 1,750 yards of total offense and accounted for 20 touchdowns in five games — 12 passing and eight rushing, the latter of which is tied for the SEC lead.
Corral has yet to throw an interception this season while completing 69.2% of his passes. He is averaging 299.4 passing yards and 51 rushing yards per game.
Lane Kiffin is risking it often — and successfully
Ole Miss led the SEC with 33 fourth-down attempts in 2020. The Rebels are on pace for 58 in 2021.
Ole Miss has attempted 24 fourth-down conversions and converted 18, leading the nation in both categories. The Rebels have twice as many fourth-down conversions as Vanderbilt, which ranks second in the SEC with nine.
Kiffin has called for a fourth-down attempt at least three times in every game this season. Kiffin's 2009 Tennessee team had 24 fourth-down attempts. Kiffin went 7-6 as UT's coach in his lone season before bolting for the Southern Cal.
Jeremy Banks, the disruptor
Jeremy Banks has drawn plenty of attention for his penchant for personal fouls. But the Vols linebacker is playing productive football of late.
Banks has 4 tackles for loss and 2½ sacks in SEC play. He ranks fifth in the SEC with 7 tackles for loss.
"I think he’s been a little bit more under control as far as making tackles, breaking down and being in good balance," linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary said. "The one thing with Jeremy: He’s going to play hard, but sometimes when he plays hard he’s a little out of control and kind of out of whack where he ends up on the ground a lot. And I think he’s been better at that the last couple weeks.”
Tennessee has been a fast-starting team under Heupel, outscoring opponents 101-13 in the first quarter. UT has been especially elite early in the past two weeks, holding a 56-3 margin in the first quarter.
JaVonta Payton has been a catalyst to the fast starts. The Mississippi State transfer wide receiver has scored a touchdown in four straight games. All four of his touchdowns were in the first half, including three in the first quarter.
Tennessee 56, Ole Miss 53: For all the offensive focus, this matchup probably comes down to which defense plays better. Tennessee's has done well lately against lesser opponents. It does enough for the Vols to edge the Rebels.
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.
Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/university-of-tennessee/football/2021/10/15/tennessee-football-vs-ole-miss-scouting-report-prediction/5953534001/925