3T&CoD: UL-Laf, UL-Cry, UL-Have to Watch the Replay Because It's Not on TV

In their preview of this weekend's game, the RaginCajuns.com website says this about ULL:

The Cajuns, who are coming off a bye week, dropped a 39-32 heartbreaker to Florida Atlantic on Oct. 20 at Cajun Field. Louisiana was 63 seconds away from a shocking upset of the Owls, only to be shocked in overtime.
How much should we worry about a team who, had they actually beaten FAU, would have considered it an upset? A shocking upset at that?

Not much. I've heard the comparisons to what Air Force did (or almost did) to us last year. These guys aren't Air Force. They're not even the Vol Navy. Okay, that's hyperbole, the Cajuns did put a scare into South Carolina in the season-opener. But that was before reeling off another four losses, including multiple-touchdown defeats against Troy, UCF, and McNeese State (and of course, McNeese isn't even a state!).  They also lost 52-21 against the same Arkansas State team the Vols beat 48-27 (and Arkansas isn't even a... oh, oh yeah).

The most (only?) worrisome aspect of the ULL team is QB Michael Desormeaux, the nation's leading rushing quarterback and 24th-ranked runner overall . And we all know how well Tennessee's performed against running quarterbacks lately.

However, for as maligned as the Vol defense has been, it's still statistically the best rushing defense ULL will have faced this year -- 68th, at  4.5 yards/carry and 159 yards/game (A-St is 72, 4.3 YPC, 169 YPG; and Carolina is 74, 4.1 YPC, 169 YPG)

And unfortunately, due to a lack of time I'm not able to draw this post out to where I wanted it, so jump straight to the three things this game should allow Tennessee to do in order to prepare for the stretch run (these are not predictions, predictions can go badly around here):

  1. Stop a good running team, especially a team with a good running QB
  2. find some rhythm on offense (and audition for Coker's snaps)
  3. Play a lot of people

The way this season has gone, it's hard to expect a blowout in any game. And Desormeaux will get some yards, inevitably. But it's reasonable to expect this game to play out sort of like the Ark. St. game did: uncomfortable for a while but the Vols pull away in the end.

Of course, if we've got another loss in us, I'd rather get it out this week than any other... but nah.

Go Vols!

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