#9 Tennessee vs #8 Texas A&M
3:30 PM, October 8, 2016 on CBS
College Station, Texas
Another top ten matchup is on the slate this weekend, as the #9 Tennessee Volunteers head to College Station to face the #8 Texas A&M Aggies.
It’s been an interesting road to 5-0 for the Volunteers. Butch Jones’ team needed overtime in the season-opener to beat heavy-underdog Appalachian State, but have continued their winning ways since. Their most recent victory? A hail-mary touchdown pass, on the road at Georgia. The Aggies also find themselves at 5-0 with a couple of key conference victories already under their belt. They’ll enter Saturday’s content as the favorite, and rightfully so. We’ll see if the Vols’ recent fortunes can survive a visit to College Station.
What’s at stake:
Texas A&M: Both teams will face #1 Alabama in their next matchup (A&M after a bye week), so a top-ten win before facing the Tide would be huge for momentum. Unlike Tennessee, A&M will have to beat out ‘Bama in order to reach the SEC Championship Game, so they’ll need every marquee victory they can get. This is one of them.
What to watch for:
Tennessee’s Slow Starts
The Vols have fallen behind early in games throughout their 5-0 start. Although they’ve proven they can play from behind, the challenge will be more difficult as they head into the heart of their SEC schedule. Through five games, Tennessee has already faced 13-3, 14-0, 21-3, and 17-0 deficits. They may be the strongest second-half team in college football, but they’ll need to begin putting it together from the start if they plan on staying unbeaten.
A&M Battling Injuries
Playmakers at the receiving position, Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones, both missed last weekend’s game at South Carolina. Their status is uncertain for Saturday’s content. The biggest concern for the Aggies, however, is the lower leg of Myles Garrett. The star defensive end’s pass rushing abilities will be sorely missed if he’s not able to play against the Vols. A&M does have a bye week following the matchup, so the projected #1 pick in the NFL Draft will have time to recover if he does suit up.
The 12th Man
Tennessee passed their first road test of the season last week at Georgia, and now head to College Station. The Aggies’ home crowd advantage is known across the country as one of the most difficult to overcome. ‘The 12th Man’ has been a source of pride for Aggies dating back over 75 years; they’ll be in full force Saturday afternoon for this highly anticipated matchup. It’ll be interesting to see how Tennessee is able to manage the crowd noise early, especially with their tendency to start slow.
Texas A&M gets out to a lead and holds off the Volunteers, 31-28.