Vanderbilt Commodores at Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday, Nov. 30; Neyland Stadium; Knoxville, Tenn.
What’s more baffling for Tennessee football right now? Is it being 0-7 against Will Muschamp or on a three-game losing streak to the Vanderbilt Commodores? Derek Mason beating the Vols is why he is keeping his job, as it’s the only reason he’s made two bowl games in the last three years.
This year, though, questions are abound. Vanderbilt returns talent all over the field. However, they don’t have quarterback Kyle Shurmur, the one guy who has torched he Vols each of the past three seasons. Ke’Shawn Vaughn is where they’ll put their eggs this year, but Jeremy Pruitt is better at stopping the running game when he knows it’s coming.
Taking that into account and the fact that it’s the final game of the year, lots of things could play into this one. Sure, it’s in Knoxville. But the desperation of each team, depending on whether or not they’re trying to reach a bowl, will be a huge deal.
What happens could also depend on the quarterback play, and we’re still not sure if Riley Neal or Deuce Wallace will be that guy. However, Mason has beaten UT with offense each of the last three years. Can he do it again?
Shurmur being gone and Mason’s reliance on the running game will help him have a very good season. But it won’t help him against Tennessee football. The Vols lost to Shurmur, not Vandy as a whole, and without him, they will finally end that streak in Knoxville. It will also allow them to finish the year above .500.