Both Vanderbilt and Tennessee will be facing two of the nation’s top teams this weekend. Vanderbilt will be on the road in Athens, Georgia to face the Georgia Bulldogs, while the Tennessee Volunteers will be t home, aiming to end a 15-game losing streak against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — The Vanderbilt Commodores and Tennessee Volunteers each face one of the nation’s top teams this coming weekend, and they’re coming into these games coming off very different results. Vanderbilt, which encouraged by its first half performance against ninth ranked Ole Miss, still has to be discouraged about the second half collapse and ultimate 52-28 wipeout at home. Tennessee is sure to advance in the rankings as they routed number 25 LSU 40-13 in Baton Rouge.

The SEC losing streak has increased to 23 for the Commodores, who now head to Georgia for their game against the second ranked Georgia Bulldogs. They will most certainly be a prohibitive underdog, and the optimism that had emerged during their surprising first half showing against Ole Miss, when they twice had 10-point leads and were ahead at halftime 20-17. But they were totally overwhelmed in the second half by the Rebels, getting outscored 35-8, with the Rebels establishing their dominance right off the top, taking the second half kickoff and immediately forging ahead 24-20, then never looking back.

The Commodores’ simply cannot stay competitive with top SEC squads when they aren’t able to control the ball and keep their defense off the field, nor score enough points to pose a threat. Head coach Clark Lea had some first half success using Mike Wright as a second QB running the option, but the Rebels just shut them down most of the second half. They’ve also got to get the ball more to standout wide receiver Will Sheppard. Their hope against Georgia is just to remain competitive for as long as possible. 

Tennessee once again demonstrated its potent offense, and now they have balance with Jabari Small’s rushing power providing a great second weapon to QB Hendon Hooker’s dual-threat ability. Hooker had two touchdown passes against LSU, Small 127 yards and another two touchdowns, That Tennessee once again allowed over 300 yards passing isn’t as much of a concern because they kept LSU off the scoreboard much of the game.

The Volunteers will go into Saturday’s home game against number one Alabama undefeated and anxious to end one of their longest losing streaks. They have dropped 15 straight games to the Crimson Tide, and have never defeated them since Nick Saban became their coach.Another 100,000+ crowd is expected at Neyland Stadium.