It’s the last game of the season so that must mean it’s time to play Vanderbilt.
This is a big game for both teams. Tennessee and Vanderbilt both enter the matchup with a 5-6 record. A win by either squad will give them a much-needed bowl berth for 2018.
So we have a in-state rivalry game with major implications. Sounds like a pretty big deal to me.
That’s why Jauan Jennings is this week’s x-factor.
Jennings is no stranger to the big play. Whether it’s roasting Jalen Tabor on a double move or coming up with one of the most memorable plays in UT history, Jennings knows when to step it up on the big stage.
Despite playing in Knoxville over the past four seasons, this weekend will mark Jennings’ second matchup with the Commodores. He recorded four catches for 75 yards in the 2016 meeting.
Tennessee will need Jennings in a big way Saturday. Vanderbilt boasts one of the SEC’s better corners in Joejaun Williams. He is tied for second with four interceptions and leads the conference with 13 pass break ups.
When Williams isn’t on Jennings, the Vols need to take advantage of the situation. The Commodores have just 19 sacks on the season so Jarrett Guarantano should have enough time to look Jennings’ way when the time is right.
A big-bodied, physical target like Jennings will also come in handy in the red zone. Tennessee is a perfect 17/17 inside the 20 during SEC play. Put two and two together and you should find success.
This offense is also at its best when throwing the ball, especially downfield. A 41-yard catch and run finally got the offense on track last week. Guess who was on the receiving end of that pass?
Yep. Jauan Jennings.
He won’t make a contribution just as a receiving threat. He is also a hell of a run blocker and of course, his leadership skills are some of the best around.
A big day for Jennings will mean a big day for this offense. When the clock hits zero on the final game of the season, that should translate to another Tennessee win.