#19 Oklahoma Sooners at #23 Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday, September 12, 2015, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, Tennessee
Opening Line: Tennessee -1
Current Line: Pick
Opening Total: 61
Current Total: 63
Opening Money Line: Tennessee -120 / Oklahoma +100
Current Money Line: Tennessee -110 / Oklahoma -110
The Oklahoma Sooners and Tennessee Volunteers meet for the fourth time ever Saturday in Knoxville in a battle of ranked teams. Oklahoma leads the series 2-1. The Sooners won the first game of a home and home last year in Norman 34-10.
Both teams won in convincing fashion last week against MAC teams. Oklahoma, coached by Bob Stoops, beat Akron 41-3 at home. Tennessee, coached by Butch Jones, beat Bowling Green 59-30 in Nashville.
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Oklahoma was a 31 point favorite against Akron and the total was 57. The Sooners overcame a sluggish start in the first quarter and could only manage a field goal. Oklahoma would score two touchdowns late in the second quarter to make it 17-0. The Sooners muffed a punt and Akron recovered. The Zips kicked a field goal with 6 seconds left to make it 17-3 at halftime. Oklahoma scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game away. Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw two touchdowns and rushed for another in the quarter. Oklahoma added a fourth quarter field goal to make the final 41-3.
Oklahoma had 539 total yards including 439 passing yards. Akron had 226 yards including just 88 passing yards. The Sooners had 26 first downs to 10 for Akron. Both teams had 9 penalties. Oklahoma had two turnovers to one for Akron.
Mayfield completed 23 of 33 passes for 388 yards and 3 touchdowns, and rushed for 8 yards with a touchdown. Trevor Knight entered the game in garbage time and threw for 51 yards with an interception. With a trio of very talented running backs, many thought Oklahoma would be more of a rushing team. However, against Akron the Sooners could never really get the ground game going. Samaje Perine had 11 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown, plus two catches. Joe Mixon had 5 carries for 27 yards, but also had 3 catches for 115 yards including a brilliant 76 yard touchdown catch. Alex Ross had 3 carries for 20 yards. Receiver Sterling Shepard had 3 catches for 68 yards. Durron Neal had 4 catches for 65 yards. Jarvis Baxter had 5 catches for 51 yards. Mark Andrews had 4 catches for 50 yards. Dede Westbrook had 3 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. Jeffery Mead also caught a touchdown pass.
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Tennessee was a 21.5 point favorite against Bowling Green and the total was 67.5. After an early Bowling Green field goal, Tennessee would score 21 straight points to take a 21-3 lead. However, Bowling Green would add a touchdown before the end of the first to make it 21-10. The Falcons scored 10 straight points to open the second quarter to pull within 21-20. However, Tennessee added two touchdowns in the last two minutes of the first half to take a 35-20 lead into halftime. The teams traded touchdowns to open the third. Bowling Green added a field goal to pull within 42-30. The Falcons would not score again though and the Volunteers scored the last 17 points of the game to cover the spread and make the final 59-30. The game was delayed for nearly 80 minutes in the third quarter due to lightning and took nearly 5 hours to complete.
Tennessee had 604 total yards including 399 rushing yards. Bowling Green had 557 total yards including 433 passing yards. The Volunteers had 29 first downs to 24 for the Falcons. Bowling Green had 12 penalties for 128 yards and also had the game’s only turnover.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs completed 15 of 22 passes for 205 yards with 2 touchdowns and also rushed for 89 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown. Running back Alvin Kamara had 15 carries for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jalen Hurd had 23 carries for 123 yards and 3 touchdowns. No Tennessee receiver had more than 3 catches but Ethan Wolf had 2 touchdowns.
Eleven players are listed as doubtful or out for Tennessee, including five defensive players and three receivers.
Oklahoma is 6-0 ATS in September, 7-2 in non-conference games, 5-2 after passing for more than 280 yards, after a straight up win of more than 20 points, and after allowing 20 points or less, 3-7 overall, 2-5 against SEC teams, 5-13 after allowing less than 275 total yards, 1-4 after a straight up win, 1-5 after allowing less than 170 passing yards and 0-4 against teams with winning records.
Tennessee is 4-0 ATS after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 6-1 on grass, 5-1 at home, 5-2 overall, 4-9 against teams with winning records, 2-5 after a straight up win, 7-18-1 after a cover, and 0-4 after a straight up win by 20 points or more.
It has to be a little alarming that Tennessee’s injury ravaged secondary gave up so many yards to Bowling Green last week. Oklahoma struggled on offense for the first six drives of the game against Akron mainly due to penalties ending drives. However, in the second and third quarters, the Sooners looked explosive on offense. It won’t be easy on the road in front of 100,000+ orange-clad fans all singing Rocky Top but I think the Sooners pull out the mild upset on the road in a shootout.