4. Does UT-Martin’s pass protection hold up?
We go to the other side of the coin with the pass rush. It’s good vs. great in this one, but again, it’s relative, and the great part is the relative part. Tennessee football has a solid pass rush, while UT-Martin has incredibly good pass protection for its level, and that produces an interesting matchup in this one.
UT-Martin has allowed exactly two sacks on the year. That’s right. They have allowed just two. On the other side, Byron Young has twice been named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, and Tyler Baron has been a playmaker on the other side, but neither made a splash last week in the Vols’ huge win over Alabama.
Their splashes came against Pitt and LSU, two teams who have issues protecting the passer. Pitt stands out more, as they run a standard pro-style offense with a drop-back passer. That’s exactly what UT-Martin runs, meaning the Vols don’t have to focus as much on gap integrity.
With that fact and the way Tennessee football is built, does UT-Martin have the personnel to slow down the Vols’ pass rush when Tim Banks turns them loose. They certainly do at the FCS level, but this is an entirely different level. Being able to handle it is an absolute must for them.