Homecoming for the Tennessee Volunteers brings in the Auburn Tigers and new head coach Gus Malzahn. Coming into this game at 4-5 (our projected record for the Vols up to this point), UT will need to figure out a way to win this game to get back into the bowl discussion.
Last season, Auburn finished 3-9 and 0-8 in the SEC. One of two teams to finish winless in the Southeastern Conference, Auburn fired head coach Gene Chizik just two years after winning the BCS National Championship. In the offseason, they hired former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to take the reigns. Malzahn had spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Tigers, before leading Arkansas State for one season.
This season, Malzahn will look to turn things back around with a young, but talented group. Auburn very much mirrors UT with it’s inexperience at the quarterback position. Leading the Auburn offensive attack should be junior running back Tre Mason. Last season, Mason finished with 1,002 yards. This season, the Tiger run game will need to lead the charge, if they are to be successful.
This game is another in a series of pivotal games for Coach Butch Jones and the Vols. The three game stretch of Missouri, Auburn, and Vanderbilt will likely determine whether the Volunteers get to participate in a bowl game or not.
While the November schedule for the Vols is favorable, the Tigers will be entrenched in a four game stretch in which they travel to Arkansas and Tennessee, and also face Georgia and Alabama at home to finish off the season.
This will likely prove to be too much for Auburn. UT will win this game in a close contest to improve to 5-5 on the season. The second bye week is up next, followed by Vanderbilt coming into Neyland Stadium.