FOOTBALL PREVIEW: No. 3 Tennessee vs UT-Martin

Photo Credit: Emma Corona/Tennessee Athletics
By Dylan Becker

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – After one of the biggest wins in program history, No. 3 Tennessee (6-0, 3-0 SEC) is set to return to Neyland Stadium to host the UT-Martin Skyhawks (4-2, 3-0 OVC) for homecoming on Rocky Top.

Last week’s exciting matchup, in which the Volunteers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 52-49 for the Vols’ first win over ‘Bama since 2006, has drawn massive attention back to Neyland Stadium and the Tennessee football program as it is once again a sold out game.

On top of the big win and top-three ranking for the Vols, it’s also homecoming week on Rocky Top for a celebration of Volunteer pride for both current students and alumni. The Vols are set to honor that pride by adding “Summit Blue” accents to the all-orange uniforms in honor of legendary Lady Vols Basketball head coach Pat Summit, who was an alum of UT-Martin as well.

Tennessee’s offense is set to once again show why it’s the best in the country after hanging 52 on the SEC’s second-best scoring defense last week. A big part of Tennessee’s high-powered offense is due to the play of quarterback Hendon Hooker, who currently has 1,817 passing yards on the season with a 15-1 TD-INT ratio. After Tennessee’s win over Alabama, Hooker’s Heisman Trophy odds jumped to +450 according to ESPN, which is good for the best odds in the country.

Hooker, however, is not alone on that Tennessee offense. Wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, who scored five receiving touchdowns against Alabama, has a season total of 595 receiving yards, good for best in the SEC. His 10 receiving touchdowns are also the most in the country. Hyatt, in the absence of All-SEC wide receiver Cedric Tillman, has stepped up for the Vols and proved to be one of the nation’s best wide outs.

The Skyhawks are coming off their open week following a 45-16 win over Murray State two weeks ago. With last week being their bye week, the Skyhawks should be well rested and ready to take on the Vols at Neyland Stadium.

With all of the talk surrounding the Tennessee offense, the Skyhawks will be forced to use their own explosive offense to try and keep up with the Vols. Martin is led by quarterback Dresser Winn, who has 1,737 passing yards this season with an 11-2 TD-INT ratio, and running back Zak Wallace, who leads the team in rushing yards with 576 with 10 touchdowns and averages 5.8 yards per rush.

Kickoff for the Tennessee Volunteers against the U.T. Martin Skyhawks is at noon, EST. and can be watched on the SEC Network.