7. Ability of UT Martin to intercept passes vs. Vols’ ability to avoid throwing them
Although Tennessee football has five interceptions, which is pretty good, that’s not through the roof elite. UT-Martin, like the Vols, avoids throwing picks. Yes, if they throw some in this game, it’ll be over, but nothing suggests Rocky Top is going to dramatically change the flow of that.
On the other side, though, it’s greatness against greatness. Hendon Hooker threw his first interception last Saturday against Alabama since last year when the Vols lost to the Georgia Bulldogs. Still, he has 15 touchdowns to just one interception through the air on the year. That’s insanely efficient and not going to change.
UT-Martin, however, is great at intercepting passes. The Skyhawks are tied for No. 7 in FCS play on the year with 11 interceptions. They are great for their level, and if it translates to this level, here is where you’ll see greatness on display. Which one will give?
Obviously, everybody would expect the Vols to win out here, as UT-Martin hasn’t faced a passing attack as efficient as theirs, but if the Skyhawks can still be effective at intercepting passes, then they could continue their success all year in the turnover margin. Combine that with a fast start, maybe a special teams play and flipping the penalty script, and we may have a game.