The Tennessee Vols were supposed to be 2-0 when they faced Chattanooga in the middle of September.
Instead, they were 0-2, thanks to a momentum stifling opening season loss to Georgia State.
There were plenty of reasons for the Vols’ loss to Georgia State, but perhaps the biggest reason is that Tennessee simply overlooked the Panthers.
The Volunteers treated the matchup against Georgia State like a scrimmage. By the time Tennessee realized they were in a fight, it was too late.
With UAB coming to Knoxville on Saturday night, and the Vols coming off an emotional win against South Carolina, the conditions are right for another upset.
But if UAB upsets Tennessee on Saturday night in Neyland, it won’t be because the Vols looked past them to the bye week.
Junior running back Ty Chandler was asked by a reporter on Tuesday if UAB has the Vols’ full attention this week. Chandler, of course, quickly responded that Tennessee is completely focused on the Blazers.
After the Georgia State game, does UAB have the team’s full attention?
Tennessee RB Ty Chandler, smiles, simply responds: “Yessir.”
— Jesse Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) October 29, 2019
Chandler’s comment echoes what Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt said on Monday.
Pruitt: They are not allowing a whole lot of points. A lot of pressure. Just really sound and really hard-nose football. Offensively, the guys take care of the football and create explosive plays and have really, really good wide receivers as a group. They look like SEC wide receivers and are probably just as good as any group we have seen. We have a tremendous challenge this week. Our guys have to get in here and get focused.
I think it’s safe to say that Tennessee learned their lesson against Georgia State. And I don’t think it’s a mistake you’ll see a Pruitt led team make again.
By the way, UAB isn’t overlooking the Vols, either. Blazers head coach Bill Clark told reporters this week that he believes Tennessee in recent weeks has “looked as good as anybody”, while adding “if you take them from the first game until now, they look like two different teams”.
It sounds both teams will be well prepared on Saturday night.
Tennessee has the talent to run UAB out of the stadium, but the Blazers also have the ability to leave Knoxville with a win.
Either way, it should be a fun matchup.
Featured image via Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports