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Staff Picks: Tennessee vs. Austin Peay

Should be an easy day.

NCAA Football: Virginia at Tennessee Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee gets the ole FCS tune-up game today before the real fun begins next week. The Volunteers are hosting Austin Peay today at Neyland Stadium, where they are 45 point favorites. The goal today is simple — no injuries and let your young guys get some experience.

Here’s how we think it plays out.

Terry: Tennessee 63, Austin Peay 7

The real answer here is, “whatever Josh Heupel wants it to be.”

I’m going to guess they let it fly in the first half, looking to get some chemistry rolling with Joe Milton and the top four receivers. Things didn’t exactly click last week, and now is an ideal time to get some of that rhythm going down the field.

Look for Nico Iamaleava and a heavy dose of the rushing attack in the second half. Hopefully we get to see Nico run the offense at full song for a few drives before Tennessee tries to drain the clock.

Nick: Tennessee 59, Austin Peay 3

This is the last tune-up game before Heupel takes his offense into the swamp where the Vols have lost nine-straight, dating back to 2004. So does the staff leave the starters in to get as much playing time together as possible? Or do we sit on a quick, early lead and let the kids get some meaningful-ish snaps? Keep rotating at offensive line, because we need to have that settled by Florida week.

Just like Terry, I’d like to see the Vols go for some splash plays early and see if some of the kinks we saw last week in the throw game get ironed out. I’d also like to use this game to get transfer TE McCallan Castles involved.

Defensively, it will be out first peak at who Brian Jean-Mary likes to fill Keenan Pili’s spot. I figure Aaron Beasley moves into the the middle, and we get Elijah Herring and Arion Carter as the other linebacker, in some sort of rotation. This would also be a good game to get some of the athletic DB’s we’ve signed the last two classes some playing time and see what they bring to the table.

Either way, just go out, put on a show and start getting ready for UF.

Matt: Tennessee 56, Austin Peay 0

This is going to be your typical straight forward blowout of an FCS team, not much to it. We might get to see a lot of Nico potentially which would be cool.

Christian: Tennessee 65, Austin Peay 7

Typical tune up game against an FCS opponent. Tennessee should absolutely dominate in their home opener.

Much like Terry and Nick, I’d love to see Tennessee try to establish a vertical passing game early in this one, especially after a lackluster performance from the receiving corps against Virginia. It’ll also be nice to see if Jaylin Wright and Dylan Sampson can continue their momentum from stellar games last week.

On the defensive side of the ball I’m expecting an intense pass rush and steady dose of sacks. Also going out on a limb and saying they force 3 (three) strip sack fumbles. Heard it here first.

Expect this one to be over early and for the Vols to be 2-0 as they make the journey to Gainesville.