4. Defense pulled a 180
Has there ever been a bigger turnaround by one unit in history? Okay, so given what we saw with Spencer Rattler in South Carolina’s win over the Clemson Tigers, he truly did turn a corner just in time to face Tennessee football, so Vanderbilt’s offense is significantly worse. Also, having Jeremy Banks backed changed a lot.
However, the Vols went from allowing nine touchdowns on 10 offensive possessions last week to shutting out Vanderbilt. They held them to under 300 total yards in the process, and they did it with three of their starters in the secondary injured. By every metric, this was shocking.
Vanderbilt made a switch at quarterback midway through the game, desperately looking for some sort of spark. It didn’t do anything. The Vols finished the game with 13 tackles for a loss and three sacks, and they were aggressive all night. It helped that with Banks back, Tim Banks was able to dial up more blitz packages.
Still, this is one of the more shocking sagas in college football history. A defense playing so dramatically different from week to week is something that may have never been done before, and while the dynamics are somewhat different, it’s beyond shocking.