Last week, against South Carolina, the Tennessee Vols suffered their first loss of the Jeremy Pruitt era that should’ve been a win.
The Vols were good enough to beat the Gamecocks. They controlled most of the game.
Tennessee simply didn’t finish.
But that was hardly a surprise. Pruitt is still working on changing the culture on Knoxville. The loss to South Carolina, while painful, will likely help expedite the culture change on Rocky Top.
It’s important, however, for the Vols to quickly move forward past the tough loss to the Gamecocks. Tennessee’s goal of reaching a bowl game is still well within reach. They have to win three of their final four games to reach six wins.
On Saturday, against Charlotte, the Vols should get their fourth win of the season.
But simply beating the 49ers won’t be enough on Saturday. Tennessee has to start November with some momentum — especially with Kentucky looming large next weekend.
Earlier this season, the Vols looked out of sorts against an overmatched UTEP squad. Tennessee managed only 24 points against the Miners and they never scored more than 7 points in a quarter in the shutout win.
The Volunteers are definitely a better now than they were in September.
And that’s why they can’t have another lackluster performance against a team they should easily blowout.
Tennessee is a 22.5 point favorite against Charlotte. They need to easily cover the spread and score over 40 points on Saturday to show fans how much they’ve progressed in recent weeks.
Basically, the Vols HAVE to dominate on Saturday. They need to make the 49ers ready to leave Knoxville and return to Charlotte by halftime.
If Tennessee does what they’re suppose to do on homecoming Saturday, it will give them some much needed momentum heading into a pivotal matchup with the Wildcats.
Kentucky is undoubtedly good. But the Vols were only a couple of yards away from a win against the Wildcats last year. The game will be winnable for UT, but they’ll need their best offensive performance of the season to make it happen.
Featured image via Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports