Tennessee and Ole Miss are set for an offensive showdown tonight at Neyland Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network). The game total sits at a ridiculous 83 points, as Josh Heupel and Lane Kiffin will square off in what should be a fun one.
Heupel has won over the fanbase over the last two weeks, and he could send us all into a frenzy if he’s able to find a victory tonight. Here’s how Tennessee could get that done.
Keep making plays, defense
In a game that will feature plenty of offense, this one very well could come down to either defense stepping up and making a game-changing play. That’s been the objective of Tim Banks so far during his time in Knoxville, and recently we’ve seen his vision come to life. In consecutive games now, Tennessee has forced two turnovers. Those turnovers went a long way towards building early leads, handing the ball back to an offense that has been white hot in the first quarter all year long.
Both sides are going to give up points tomorrow — that’s a given. But which side is going to step in front of a pass or rip a ball out to change the game?
Containing Matt Corral
The Ole Miss signal caller has been brilliant through five games this season, both on the ground and through the air. Lane Kiffin incorporates his legs into his offense, creating quite a stressful situation for opposing defenses.
Thinking back a few weeks, it was Florida’s Emory Jones who ran all over Tennessee, powering the Gators to a runaway victory over the Volunteers. Very simply, the Tennessee defense has to play better contain on Saturday night. Ole Miss likely won’t call as many designed runs as Dan Mullen did for Jones, but Corral is much more of a threat as a passer, and the Rebels aren’t short on playmakers. If you let him extend plays, it’s going to be a long day.
Getting pressure and finishing plays will be a massive point of emphasis tonight.
Not that the game was really ever in danger, but there were some dry moments last week in the second half for the Tennessee offense. The Vols jumped out to another 28-0 lead in the first quarter, really putting the game away before halftime considering the offense that they were up against. It almost had a similar feel to the Bowling Green game, where Tennessee went ice cold in the second quarter. The Volunteers very well could have been sitting on the ball and simply chewing clock, but Heupel was less than thrilled with the second half effort after the game.
On Saturday night in Neyland, they won’t be able to take any quarter off. Ole Miss likely won’t be punting much in this one. The offense is going to have to keep pace, something that they certainly are capable of doing. The Ole Miss defense leaves a lot to be desired and frankly should be able to be exploited all night long. The Rebels rank 106th against the run — not quite as bad as Missouri, but that should offer plenty of room for Tiyon Evans and company to operate.
My only question is, can this offense do it for 60 minutes? In a game like this, neither offense can afford to blink.