Virginia Tech Hokies vs #17 Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday, September 10, 2016, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Bristol Motor Speedway – Bristol, Tennessee
Opening Line: Tennessee -10
Current Line: Tennessee -11
Opening Total: 54 (under -118)
Current Total: 53
Opening Money Line: Tennessee -450 / Virginia Tech +355
Current Money Line: Tennessee -430 / Virginia Tech +345
The Tennessee Volunteers and Virginia Tech Hokies will play Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway in front of the largest crowd to ever watch a college football game. Both schools are 112 miles from Bristol. Tennessee leads the series 5-3 against Virginia Tech including 1-2 in neutral site games. The Hokies won the last meeting 37-14 in the 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
Both teams won their openers last week at home. Virginia Tech won the first game for coach Justin Fuente who took over for legendary coach Frank Beamer who retired after 28 seasons in Blacksburg. The Hokies beat Liberty 36-13 last Saturday. Virginia Tech was a 31.5 point favorite and the total was 58. Tennessee escaped with a 20-13 overtime win over Appalachian State last Thursday. The Volunteers, coached by Butch Jones, were 21.5 point favorites and the total was 58. The Volunteers dropped from #9 in the polls to #17 despite the win.
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Liberty took a 13-10 lead on a 71 yard fumble return for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Virginia Tech would lead 24-13 by halftime though. The Hokies expanded the lead to 33-13 by the end of the third including a safety. The Hokies added a fourth quarter field goal to make the final 36-13.
Virginia Tech had 458 total yards including 252 passing and 206 rushing yards. Liberty had just 160 total yards including 90 rushing and 70 passing. The Hokies had 24 first downs to 11 for the Flames. Virginia Tech was 10/20 on third and fourth down conversions and 1/1 on fourth downs. Liberty was 2/15 on third downs and 1/2 on fourth downs. Liberty had 13 penalties for 75 yards and Virginia Tech had 4 for 33 yards. Each team had four turnovers. The Hokies had possession for 33:42 to 26:18 for the Flames.
Quarterback Jerod Evans was 20/32 passing with 4 touchdowns, and he also had 5 carries for 46 yards. Running back Travon McMillian had 13 carries for 39 yards. Receiver Isaiah Ford had 11 catches for 117 yards with a touchdown. Cam Phillips had 5 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. Bucky Hodges had 3 catches for 42 yards and two touchdowns.
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Appalachian State took a 13-3 lead into halftime. The Mountaineers did miss an extra point that would prove crucial later in the game. Tennessee kicked a field goal in the third to pull within 13-6 going into the fourth. The Volunteers tied it up at 13 with just over 10 minutes left. Appalachian missed a 42 yard field goal in the fourth despite starting at the Tennessee 31. The teams would go into overtime. Tennessee would score on their possession when running back Jalen Hurd recovered his own fumble in the end zone. Appalachian State was only able to gain five yards as Tennessee survived the upset bid.
Tennessee had 319 total yards to 292 for App State. The Volunteers had 192 passing and 127 rushing yards. The Mountaineers had 184 rushing yards and 108 passing. Tennessee had 19 first downs to 17 for Appalachian State. The Vols were 7/16 on third down conversions. The Mountaineers were 3/13 on third downs and 1/2 on fourth downs. Appalachian State had 5 penalties for 36 yards and Tennessee had 6 for 55 yards. The Volunteers had 2 turnovers to 1 for the Mountaineers. App State held possession for 33:29 to 26:31 for Tennessee.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs was 16/29 passing for 192 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Hurd had 28 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown, and had 6 catches for 20 yards. Receiver Josh Malone had 2 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Preston Williams and Ethan Wolf combined for 9 catches.
Tennessee is 4-0 ATS against teams with winning records and in neutral site games, 7-3 after failing to cover, 4-10 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, and 1-4 against ACC teams.
Virginia Tech is 4-1 ATS after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 6-2 after allowing less than 275 total yards and 170 passing yards, 7-17-2 in non-conference games, 2-5 on grass, 5-15-1 in September, 2-6-1 in neutral site games, 1-4 against SEC teams, and 2-8 after a straight up win of 20 points or more.
Both teams were sluggish last week and need to cut down on the mistakes. Tennessee was especially lucky to win, despite entering the season as one of the SEC favorites. They still might be but they have to play a lot better. This will be a great atmosphere and almost like a bowl game. I think Tennessee rebounds but Virginia Tech will not make it easy.