Tennessee football at Arkansas: 10 keys to the game

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 1: View of Donald W. Reynolds Stadium, home of the Arkansas Razorbacks, and John McDonnell Field before a game against the Eastern Illinois Panthers at Razorback Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 1: View of Donald W. Reynolds Stadium, home of the Arkansas Razorbacks, and John McDonnell Field before a game against the Eastern Illinois Panthers at Razorback Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2) warms up before a game between Tennessee and Alabama at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.
Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2) warms up before a game between Tennessee and Alabama at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. /

1. Accuracy from Vols quarterbacks

The passing game in general could dictate this game. However, when it comes to Tennessee football, it’s a bit different. On the other side, it’s just the Arkansas Razorbacks’ offensive attack against the Vols’ secondary.

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In this instance, it’s about what the Vols can do in the intermediate passing game. We know what they can do with the deep ball. Against the Alabama Crimson Tide, they had two deep balls to Jalin Hyatt, one of which was a touchdown pass, and another deep ball that went for a touchdown to Josh Palmer. They did that against Nick Saban’s defense.

That was the same story against the Georgia Bulldogs, when Palmer caught two deep balls for touchdowns, and against the South Carolina Gamecocks, when he caught another one. Simply put, they know how to air it out.

However, on the other side, Jarrett Guarantano’s accuracy issues have been in the intermediate passing game. That’s why he struggled on third and manageable so much at South Carolina, and it’s where the two pick-sixes came from. Add in the fact that Arkansas has 10 interceptions on the year, three of which went for touchdowns, and this is another area they can exploit.

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Given the way Barry Odom likes to run his zone defense, there won’t be many big plays available in the passing game. That means Tennessee football will need the intermediate passing attack. If the Vols can’t be accurate on it, they’ll be in trouble. Guarantano, or whomever starts, will have to prove they can do that.