Tennessee Volunteers vs. Northern Illinois Huskies: game preview

Nick Stephens will start in place of Jonathan Crompton tomorrow night as the Tennessee Volunteers host Northern Illinois. Stats and stuff after the jump, but first the keys to the game:

  • For the third week in a row, third downs are going to be key. NIU's offense is currently ranked 10th in the nation in third down offense while our third down defense is ranked 86th. Flip things around and NIU still has the advantage, with Tennessee's third down offense ranked 87th and NIU's third down defense ranked 27th. Yes, you have to account for level of competition, but still.
  • Nick Stephens.
  • Tennessee's running game. The Volunteer running game must make things easier on the QB, whether that's new starter Stephens or Jonathan Crompton in relief. NIU is not a pushover in rushing defense, but we need to lighten the load for whomever's under center.

Okay, so the stats:

Tennessee rush
v.
Northern Ill. defense
Tennessee pass
v.
Northern Ill. defense
Northern Ill. rush
v.
Tennessee defense
Northern Ill. pass
v.
Tennessee defense
49
96
23
19
42
41
37
73
Northern Illinois logo
Northern Illinois logo
Tennessee logo
Tennessee logo
Field Goals
Tennessee punting
v.
Northern Ill. punt return
Northern Ill. punting
v.
Tennessee punt return
Intangibles
T-57
115
43
T-24
62
5
Northern Illinois logo
Northern Illinois logo
Northern Illinois logo
Tennessee logo

Huh. Yeah, well, numbers lie, right? Here's how the teams look next to each other in each of the key statistical categories currently used in the RTT Ready, Fire, Aim BlogPoll Computer Ballot:

Rank
Team
WL
SOS
PED
RD
3DO
TD
PEO
EXP
OPPG
TO
3DD
AVG R
W AVG
60
Northern Illinois logo
63
75
41
42
10
30
28
9
22
52
27
36.27
191.94
91
Tennessee logo
91
89
19
23
87
17
111
45
34
81
86
62.09
273.84

Or not. But heeeeyyyy, didn't we discover earlier this week that the strength of schedule numbers are wonky? Right.

Tennessee logo
Northern Illinois logo

 

Opponent
Result
Record
at UCLA  L 27-24
0-1
UAB  W 35-3
1-1
No. 4 Florida  L 30-6
1-2
at No. 15 Auburn  L 14-12
1-3

 

Opponent
Result
Record
at Minnesota  L 31-27
0-1
at Western Michigan  L 29-26
0-2
Indiana State  W 48-3
1-2
at Eastern Michigan  W 37-0
2-2

That's better. Sure, the Vols have one more loss than do the Huskies, but we've lost to No. 4 Florida and No.15 Auburn while NIU has lost to unranked Minnesota and unranked Western Michigan. So whew, yeah, you can now settle down about seeing all of those NIU logos above.

So what's it all mean?

  • Tennessee's defense should carry the day against Northern Illinois, but we are still vulnerable on third down. Not only are the Vols not very good defensively on third down, the Huskies are decent offensively with the drive on the line.
  • We really should be able to run the ball well despite the ostensibly even stats. Auburn's and Florida's defenses could stop all four of NIU's opponents at the same time, I'd bet.
  • Other than that, Nick Stephens. So you know.
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Rocky Top Talk

You must be a member of Rocky Top Talk to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rocky Top Talk. You should read them.

Join Rocky Top Talk

You must be a member of Rocky Top Talk to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rocky Top Talk. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker