Tennessee football vs. Kentucky: 10 keys for Vols and Wildcats

Oct 3, 2020; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2) looks to throw during a SEC conference football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Missouri Tigers held at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brianna Paciorka-USA TODAY NETWORK
Oct 3, 2020; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2) looks to throw during a SEC conference football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Missouri Tigers held at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brianna Paciorka-USA TODAY NETWORK /
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Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2) warms up before a game between Tennessee and Missouri at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.100320 Tenn Mo Jpg
Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2) warms up before a game between Tennessee and Missouri at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.100320 Tenn Mo Jpg /

2. Which quarterback protects the ball?

Through two and a half games, Tennessee football did not have a turnover. Jarrett Guarantano did an amazing job taking care of the ball, and he showed why he is a fifth-year senior. Then the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs happened, and Guarantano had two fumbles and threw an interception. All were due to poor protection, but it’s on him for not taking the sack.

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Meanwhile, Terry Wilson may have single-handedly cost the Wildcats against the Auburn Tigers, as he threw an interception and lost a fumble. He has since been superb at taking care of the ball, but like Guarantano, he just had one horrendous game that proved costly. Mark Stoops can’t afford for him to make such mistakes given Kentucky’s makeup.

Taking this into account, the quarterback who protects the ball better will have his team in much better shape. Both can be vulnerable, as Stoops incorporates Wilson into the run game and Guarantano has been under pressure more than almost any quarterback in the SEC through three games, getting sacked nine times.

Related Story. Five Vols to watch for against Kentucky. light

That will make him vulnerable against an elite Kentucky defense. At the same time, though, the Vols have one of the best pass rushes in the SEC when everybody is on the field, so while Wilson doesn’t get sacked a lot, there will be plenty of chances for UT edge rushers to wreak havoc on him. As a result, both quarterbacks will be tasked with ball security, and it will be a huge deal.