Vols vs Hoosiers: The Match Up -- from Volquest

RockyTopRowdy58

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Tennessee (7-5, 5-3) returns to the postseason for the first time in three years this week against Indiana (8-4, 5-4) in Jacksonville, Fla. at the Taxslayer Bowl. The Vols will be looking to close the season on a six game win streak with a win. Let's dive into the match-ups for Thursday's contest.

VOLS' PASSING GAME vs. HOOSIERS' SECONDARY
TENNESSEE: Jarrett Guarantano’s renaissance over the second half of the year was one of the enduring storylines of the year. Similarly, Jauan Jennings (57 rec., 942 yards, 8 TDs) closed out his storied career in style. The point being that the Vols’ passing game turned into the backbone of the offense over the last part of the season. Toss in Marquez Callaway (21.8 ypc) and pretty much all of the most reliable weapons at Jim Chaney’s disposal look to be at quarterback and receiver. Guarantano didn’t start the season in the fashion that he or any Tennessee fan had hoped, but he bounced back and closed strong. In the Vols’ five game winning streak to close the year he passed for 1,026 yards with eight touchdowns and just two interceptions. Callaway and Jennings, along with Josh Palmer, give Jim Chaney three big bodied guys to work with who can all make plays after the catch. Jennings’ ability to pick up yards after the catch stresses any defense and will certainly be a concern for Indiana. I like this match-up a great deal for the Vols.

INDIANA: The Hoosiers were decent though certainly not great against the pass this year in terms of total yardage per game given up. They were in the lower third of Big Ten, surrendering 212 yards per game and a pretty healthy 7.1 yard per attempt. The number that jumps out at you here is that the defense came up with a mere five interceptions while surrendering 20 touchdowns passes, the third highest total in the Big Ten. In nine Big Ten games the Hoosiers had a mere three interceptions, so they’re not making a lot of game changing plays in the back end. The one area they did excel at, somewhat ironically given some of the other numbers, was taking away high percentage throws. Indiana held opponents to just 55.9% completion percentage, the third lowest total in the Big Ten. Fifth year senior Andre Brown is one of the most experienced players on the roster with 34 career starts and leads this unit. The two safeties; Khalil Bryant and Bryant Fitzgerald, are probably the two best players in the back end. Bryant was second on the team with 53 tackles and had three double-digit tackle games. Fitzgerald was responsible for three of the Hoosiers’ five interceptions on the season. Again, I like this match-up for Tennessee.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

VOLS' GROUND GAME vs. HOOSIERS' FRONT SEVEN
TENNESSEE: The obvious question here is, did Tennessee find something in Eric Gray during his epic performance against Vanderbilt (246 yards), or was that simply a perfect storm of a young man having a career day against a bad defense? I’m not saying that Vandy didn’t have something to do with it, but I don’t think you can look at the second biggest rushing day in school history and just write it off to bad defense. Gray’s heroics aside, Tennessee hasn’t been a great rushing offense in 2019. The showed some flashes here and there but the 145 yards per game they averaged on the ground ranked them 12th in the SEC and their 4.1 ypc was 13th. Those numbers say a great deal about an offensive line that was not only littered with youth but also spent much of the season juggling through different combinations either as a result of injury or simply looking for something to click. One constant this season was the play of Trey Smith at left guard who overcame a great deal to play the best football of his career, earning 1st team All-SEC honors. With two true freshman tackles in the line-up, this unit could see more benefit than any other group from the extra bowl practices. One big thing to keep an eye on here is the health of center Brandon Kennedy who had a ‘clean up’ procedure done on his knee after the regular season finale. He and Smith were the only two contacts in an ever changing offensive front and he will be missed if he can’t go. Pruitt said this week that Kennedy would be a ‘game time’ decision.

INDIANA: This Hoosier front seven should be a manageable challenge for a Tennessee ground game that showed some flashes of putting things together. For the year Indiana gave up just 3.9 yards per carry but that number ballooned to 4.4 ypc against Big Ten opponents. The Hoosiers have a couple of quality players in senior end Allen Stallings (5.0 sacks) and junior defensive tackle Jerome Johnson (4.0 sacks, 6.5 TFLs) is another quality player on the line. Indiana had some ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performances when it came to run defense. For instance they held Michigan to 87 yards, but that was part of a four game stretch late in the year when Maryland (173), Nebraska (220) and Penn State (192) all gashed them pretty good. This unit was a big reason why opponents converted just 31% of the time on 3rd down, maybe the most impressive defensive stat they own As always seems to be the case in SEC/Big Ten match-ups it will be interesting to see how Indiana’s speed at linebacker holds up against the Vols. Micah McFadden led the defense with 56 stops on the year including 9 TFLs.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

VOLS' SECONDARY vs. HOOSIERS' PASSING GAME
TENNESSEE: By some of the numbers Tennessee was one of the best pass defense teams in the SEC this season. By any estimate senior Nigel Warrior was one of the best defensive backs in the conference, if not the nation, earning All-SEC honors after finally realizing the vast potential many saw in him as a high school prospect. The Vols were fourth in the SEC in yards surrendered through the air (191.2), third in interceptions with 14 while surrendering just 14 touchdown passes on the season. Tennessee also got increasingly better as the year progressed in limiting big plays in the passing game and finished the year allowing opponents to average just 6.7 yards per passing attempt. Warrior has definitely been the leader in the secondary and he got progressively better as the year went on but Tennessee also got improved play as the season progressed from sophomore Bryce Thompson at cornerback, freshman Jaylen McCollough at safety and Shawn Shamburger at the nickel spot. Certainly the way the schedule was set up has something to do with this number, but Tennessee didn’t have an opponent throw for more than 180 yards in any of its last four games.

INDIANA: Junior Peyton Ramsey took over the quarterback job midway through the year, making six starts after one time Tennessee commitment Michael Penix was lost for the year with an injury. Ramsey was more than a competent back up and the passing game is what drives an Indiana offense that averaged 32.3 ppg game in 2019. It’s not exactly like Ramsey was inexperienced. He started all 12 games a year ago before losing his starting spot, and shared time with Penix early this year. When he took over full time he put up some big numbers, throwing for 2,227 yards and 13 TDs against 4 interceptions while completing 69% of his throws. There’s no doubt who his No. 1 target is. Speedy Whop Philyor (5-foot-11, 178) led Indiana with 1,001 yards and five TDs on 69 catches. He’s not a one-man show though. Six different Hoosiers caught at least 26 passes. Tight end Peyton Hendershot is a huge part of the passing game and someone the Vol linebackers will have to account for. He was second on the team with 555 yards on 46 rec. with four touchdowns. Receivers Ty Fryfogle (42 rec., 541 yards, 3 TDs) and Nick Westbrook (38 rec., 524 yards, 5 TDs) are far more than complimentary pieces to Philyor and both are bigger receivers, each in the 6-foot-3 range. Running back Stevie Scott (26 rec., 211 yards) is also someone Tennessee will have to account for in the passing game.

EDGE: INDIANA

VOLS' FRONT SEVEN vs. HOOSIERS' GROUND GAME
TENNESSEE: There were a lot of positive surprises around this football team in 2019, but for me none was bigger than seeing this coaching staff turn a what looked like a suspect front seven back in August into a more than serviceable SEC front as the year progressed. The two seniors who absolutely had to come through; Darrell Taylor and Daniel Bituli, did just that. Young guys who had to step up like freshman Henry To’o To’o, junior college transfer Darrell Middleton and redshirt freshman Greg Emerson did their part and by the end of the year Tennessee was a legitimate SEC defense, capable of making the kind of plays that either win games themselves or ensure victory, as they did on the road at Kentucky and Missouri. The Vols finished the year giving up 337 yards of total offense per game, and this unit was a big reason why. That number may not sound great, but it’s the lowest total for a Tennessee defense in a decade. Perhaps the most surprising attribute of this unit is how they suddenly morphed into one of the best pass rushing defenses in the league. Tennessee finished the year with 30 sacks, 5th in the SEC, with Taylor ranking fifth in the league with 7.0 sacks. That will be a key area to watch against an Indiana offensive line that gave up 23 sacks on the year, a number that doesn’t look as big when you consider they had 439 passing attempts.

INDIANA: The passing game gets most of the ink for Indiana, and rightly so, but the Hoosiers have competent running game behind sophomore Stevie Scott. His numbers were down a bit from when he cracked 1,000 yards as a freshman, but he missed one game and Indiana threw the ball more and he still put up 845 yards on 178 att. with 10 rushing TDs. As noted above, Scott is a versatile back who is a factor in the passing game as well. Indiana tries to spread the workload around a bit but Scott is by far their most productive back. Sampson James gained 250 yards on 70 attempts in a relief role. Ramsey isn’t afraid to pull it down and take off, but did so with varying degrees of success, picking up just 198 yards on 80 attempts. Indiana was almost as unsettled as Tennessee on the offensive front, going with five different starting combinations up front and using three different left tackles but finished the year second in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 443.6 yards per game.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

SPECIAL TEAMS
TENNESSEE: The Vols were sound in the kicking game all year long and many thought Brent Cimaglia should have gotten the nod for first-team All-SEC performer over Rodrigo Blankenship. He finished the year 20-of-24 and was an impressive 8-of-10 from outside 40 yards. Paxton Brooks won the full-time punting job midway through the season, averaging 42.7 yards per punt. Marquez Callaway (15.0 yards per punt return, 1 TD) is a dangerous man on punt returns. Tennessee never really popped a kickoff return this year, but outside of some struggles against Henry Ruggles at Alabama (who made a lot of people miss this year), the return units were strong. Tennessee also blocked two punts and a field goal this year.

INDIANA: The Hoosiers were fairly pedestrian in the return game this fall. Philyor averaged just 4.1 yards on punt return and the Hoosiers didn’t have a kickoff return of more than 39 yards in 34 attempts. Indiana does an excellent job of location punting with Hayden Whitehead (42.1 yards per punt), Only 10 of his 47 punts were returned this year. Justin Logan was just as accurate as Cimaglia this fall, connecting on 14-of-17 field goals, though he made just three outside of 40 yards, going 3-for-5 from that distance.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

ONE MAN'S FEARLESS PREDICTION
Tennessee may not have notched any monumental upsets this fall (though the Vols did win four SEC games as underdogs) but I really think that Indiana’s 8-4 record was padded quite a bit by some less than impressive wins. Their five Big Ten wins came against conference opponents that finished the year a combined 9-37 in Big Ten play. Their other three wins were over Ball State, Eastern Illinois and Connecticut and they needed overtime against a 4-8 Purdue team to avoid closing the season on a three-game losing streak.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but color me unimpressed.

I also don’t mean to suggest that Tennessee’s program is to the point where the Vols can just show up and beat a decent opponent without playing well.

What I do believe is that Tennessee is on a roll. This team gained confidence week-by-week over the last half of the season and winning this bowl game and continuing to build on that momentum means something to this group.

I think Tennessee’s big receivers make some big plays in the passing game. I think the Vols win the turnover battle (remember Indiana has just 5 picks on the year) and I think they do enough in the secondary and with their pass rush to slow down what is a legitimately nice Indiana passing game.

SEC speed almost always seems to show up in this mid-tier match-ups between these two conferences. It certainly has the last three times Tennessee went bowling; against Nebraska, Northwestern and Iowa respectively. I’m guessing it does this week as well and Tennessee finishes the season at 8-5 and on a clear upward trajectory.

TENNESSEE 31, INDIANA 20
 
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BayernFan

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So what did "the Vols" do for a fight song before the Osborne Brothers came up with that ditty about loving hairy ugly women and murdering federal officials?
 
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CC Mac

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So they make light of our out of conference schedule and they played Georgia St,BYU and UT Chattanooga?? Lol
 
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MyTeamIsOnTheFloor

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Tennessee (7-5, 5-3) returns to the postseason for the first time in three years this week against Indiana (8-4, 5-4) in Jacksonville, Fla. at the Taxslayer Bowl. The Vols will be looking to close the season on a six game win streak with a win. Let's dive into the match-ups for Thursday's contest.

VOLS' PASSING GAME vs. HOOSIERS' SECONDARY
TENNESSEE: Jarrett Guarantano’s renaissance over the second half of the year was one of the enduring storylines of the year. Similarly, Jauan Jennings (57 rec., 942 yards, 8 TDs) closed out his storied career in style. The point being that the Vols’ passing game turned into the backbone of the offense over the last part of the season. Toss in Marquez Callaway (21.8 ypc) and pretty much all of the most reliable weapons at Jim Chaney’s disposal look to be at quarterback and receiver. Guarantano didn’t start the season in the fashion that he or any Tennessee fan had hoped, but he bounced back and closed strong. In the Vols’ five game winning streak to close the year he passed for 1,026 yards with eight touchdowns and just two interceptions. Callaway and Jennings, along with Josh Palmer, give Jim Chaney three big bodied guys to work with who can all make plays after the catch. Jennings’ ability to pick up yards after the catch stresses any defense and will certainly be a concern for Indiana. I like this match-up a great deal for the Vols.

INDIANA: The Hoosiers were decent though certainly not great against the pass this year in terms of total yardage per game given up. They were in the lower third of Big Ten, surrendering 212 yards per game and a pretty healthy 7.1 yard per attempt. The number that jumps out at you here is that the defense came up with a mere five interceptions while surrendering 20 touchdowns passes, the third highest total in the Big Ten. In nine Big Ten games the Hoosiers had a mere three interceptions, so they’re not making a lot of game changing plays in the back end. The one area they did excel at, somewhat ironically given some of the other numbers, was taking away high percentage throws. Indiana held opponents to just 55.9% completion percentage, the third lowest total in the Big Ten. Fifth year senior Andre Brown is one of the most experienced players on the roster with 34 career starts and leads this unit. The two safeties; Khalil Bryant and Bryant Fitzgerald, are probably the two best players in the back end. Bryant was second on the team with 53 tackles and had three double-digit tackle games. Fitzgerald was responsible for three of the Hoosiers’ five interceptions on the season. Again, I like this match-up for Tennessee.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

VOLS' GROUND GAME vs. HOOSIERS' FRONT SEVEN
TENNESSEE: The obvious question here is, did Tennessee find something in Eric Gray during his epic performance against Vanderbilt (246 yards), or was that simply a perfect storm of a young man having a career day against a bad defense? I’m not saying that Vandy didn’t have something to do with it, but I don’t think you can look at the second biggest rushing day in school history and just write it off to bad defense. Gray’s heroics aside, Tennessee hasn’t been a great rushing offense in 2019. The showed some flashes here and there but the 145 yards per game they averaged on the ground ranked them 12th in the SEC and their 4.1 ypc was 13th. Those numbers say a great deal about an offensive line that was not only littered with youth but also spent much of the season juggling through different combinations either as a result of injury or simply looking for something to click. One constant this season was the play of Trey Smith at left guard who overcame a great deal to play the best football of his career, earning 1st team All-SEC honors. With two true freshman tackles in the line-up, this unit could see more benefit than any other group from the extra bowl practices. One big thing to keep an eye on here is the health of center Brandon Kennedy who had a ‘clean up’ procedure done on his knee after the regular season finale. He and Smith were the only two contacts in an ever changing offensive front and he will be missed if he can’t go. Pruitt said this week that Kennedy would be a ‘game time’ decision.

INDIANA: This Hoosier front seven should be a manageable challenge for a Tennessee ground game that showed some flashes of putting things together. For the year Indiana gave up just 3.9 yards per carry but that number ballooned to 4.4 ypc against Big Ten opponents. The Hoosiers have a couple of quality players in senior end Allen Stallings (5.0 sacks) and junior defensive tackle Jerome Johnson (4.0 sacks, 6.5 TFLs) is another quality player on the line. Indiana had some ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performances when it came to run defense. For instance they held Michigan to 87 yards, but that was part of a four game stretch late in the year when Maryland (173), Nebraska (220) and Penn State (192) all gashed them pretty good. This unit was a big reason why opponents converted just 31% of the time on 3rd down, maybe the most impressive defensive stat they own As always seems to be the case in SEC/Big Ten match-ups it will be interesting to see how Indiana’s speed at linebacker holds up against the Vols. Micah McFadden led the defense with 56 stops on the year including 9 TFLs.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

VOLS' SECONDARY vs. HOOSIERS' PASSING GAME
TENNESSEE: By some of the numbers Tennessee was one of the best pass defense teams in the SEC this season. By any estimate senior Nigel Warrior was one of the best defensive backs in the conference, if not the nation, earning All-SEC honors after finally realizing the vast potential many saw in him as a high school prospect. The Vols were fourth in the SEC in yards surrendered through the air (191.2), third in interceptions with 14 while surrendering just 14 touchdown passes on the season. Tennessee also got increasingly better as the year progressed in limiting big plays in the passing game and finished the year allowing opponents to average just 6.7 yards per passing attempt. Warrior has definitely been the leader in the secondary and he got progressively better as the year went on but Tennessee also got improved play as the season progressed from sophomore Bryce Thompson at cornerback, freshman Jaylen McCollough at safety and Shawn Shamburger at the nickel spot. Certainly the way the schedule was set up has something to do with this number, but Tennessee didn’t have an opponent throw for more than 180 yards in any of its last four games.

INDIANA: Junior Peyton Ramsey took over the quarterback job midway through the year, making six starts after one time Tennessee commitment Michael Penix was lost for the year with an injury. Ramsey was more than a competent back up and the passing game is what drives an Indiana offense that averaged 32.3 ppg game in 2019. It’s not exactly like Ramsey was inexperienced. He started all 12 games a year ago before losing his starting spot, and shared time with Penix early this year. When he took over full time he put up some big numbers, throwing for 2,227 yards and 13 TDs against 4 interceptions while completing 69% of his throws. There’s no doubt who his No. 1 target is. Speedy Whop Philyor (5-foot-11, 178) led Indiana with 1,001 yards and five TDs on 69 catches. He’s not a one-man show though. Six different Hoosiers caught at least 26 passes. Tight end Peyton Hendershot is a huge part of the passing game and someone the Vol linebackers will have to account for. He was second on the team with 555 yards on 46 rec. with four touchdowns. Receivers Ty Fryfogle (42 rec., 541 yards, 3 TDs) and Nick Westbrook (38 rec., 524 yards, 5 TDs) are far more than complimentary pieces to Philyor and both are bigger receivers, each in the 6-foot-3 range. Running back Stevie Scott (26 rec., 211 yards) is also someone Tennessee will have to account for in the passing game.

EDGE: INDIANA

VOLS' FRONT SEVEN vs. HOOSIERS' GROUND GAME
TENNESSEE: There were a lot of positive surprises around this football team in 2019, but for me none was bigger than seeing this coaching staff turn a what looked like a suspect front seven back in August into a more than serviceable SEC front as the year progressed. The two seniors who absolutely had to come through; Darrell Taylor and Daniel Bituli, did just that. Young guys who had to step up like freshman Henry To’o To’o, junior college transfer Darrell Middleton and redshirt freshman Greg Emerson did their part and by the end of the year Tennessee was a legitimate SEC defense, capable of making the kind of plays that either win games themselves or ensure victory, as they did on the road at Kentucky and Missouri. The Vols finished the year giving up 337 yards of total offense per game, and this unit was a big reason why. That number may not sound great, but it’s the lowest total for a Tennessee defense in a decade. Perhaps the most surprising attribute of this unit is how they suddenly morphed into one of the best pass rushing defenses in the league. Tennessee finished the year with 30 sacks, 5th in the SEC, with Taylor ranking fifth in the league with 7.0 sacks. That will be a key area to watch against an Indiana offensive line that gave up 23 sacks on the year, a number that doesn’t look as big when you consider they had 439 passing attempts.

INDIANA: The passing game gets most of the ink for Indiana, and rightly so, but the Hoosiers have competent running game behind sophomore Stevie Scott. His numbers were down a bit from when he cracked 1,000 yards as a freshman, but he missed one game and Indiana threw the ball more and he still put up 845 yards on 178 att. with 10 rushing TDs. As noted above, Scott is a versatile back who is a factor in the passing game as well. Indiana tries to spread the workload around a bit but Scott is by far their most productive back. Sampson James gained 250 yards on 70 attempts in a relief role. Ramsey isn’t afraid to pull it down and take off, but did so with varying degrees of success, picking up just 198 yards on 80 attempts. Indiana was almost as unsettled as Tennessee on the offensive front, going with five different starting combinations up front and using three different left tackles but finished the year second in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 443.6 yards per game.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

SPECIAL TEAMS
TENNESSEE: The Vols were sound in the kicking game all year long and many thought Brent Cimaglia should have gotten the nod for first-team All-SEC performer over Rodrigo Blankenship. He finished the year 20-of-24 and was an impressive 8-of-10 from outside 40 yards. Paxton Brooks won the full-time punting job midway through the season, averaging 42.7 yards per punt. Marquez Callaway (15.0 yards per punt return, 1 TD) is a dangerous man on punt returns. Tennessee never really popped a kickoff return this year, but outside of some struggles against Henry Ruggles at Alabama (who made a lot of people miss this year), the return units were strong. Tennessee also blocked two punts and a field goal this year.

INDIANA: The Hoosiers were fairly pedestrian in the return game this fall. Philyor averaged just 4.1 yards on punt return and the Hoosiers didn’t have a kickoff return of more than 39 yards in 34 attempts. Indiana does an excellent job of location punting with Hayden Whitehead (42.1 yards per punt), Only 10 of his 47 punts were returned this year. Justin Logan was just as accurate as Cimaglia this fall, connecting on 14-of-17 field goals, though he made just three outside of 40 yards, going 3-for-5 from that distance.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

ONE MAN'S FEARLESS PREDICTION
Tennessee may not have notched any monumental upsets this fall (though the Vols did win four SEC games as underdogs) but I really think that Indiana’s 8-4 record was padded quite a bit by some less than impressive wins. Their five Big Ten wins came against conference opponents that finished the year a combined 9-37 in Big Ten play. Their other three wins were over Ball State, Eastern Illinois and Connecticut and they needed overtime against a 4-8 Purdue team to avoid closing the season on a three-game losing streak.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but color me unimpressed.

I also don’t mean to suggest that Tennessee’s program is to the point where the Vols can just show up and beat a decent opponent without playing well.

What I do believe is that Tennessee is on a roll. This team gained confidence week-by-week over the last half of the season and winning this bowl game and continuing to build on that momentum means something to this group.

I think Tennessee’s big receivers make some big plays in the passing game. I think the Vols win the turnover battle (remember Indiana has just 5 picks on the year) and I think they do enough in the secondary and with their pass rush to slow down what is a legitimately nice Indiana passing game.

SEC speed almost always seems to show up in this mid-tier match-ups between these two conferences. It certainly has the last three times Tennessee went bowling; against Nebraska, Northwestern and Iowa respectively. I’m guessing it does this week as well and Tennessee finishes the season at 8-5 and on a clear upward trajectory.

TENNESSEE 31, INDIANA 20


Fair, but ....

A couple things...

Your kicking game was maybe better for a bad reason - IU got 1,000 more yards than Tennessee, 100 more points, 16 more TDs. Until the Bucket Game, we were 14-14 for FGs.

Plus, turnovers matter. Tennessee fumbled it 5 more times than IU and threw 3 more picks.

Two hungry teams.
Should be a great game.
 

RockyTopRowdy58

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I hope the Vol's players are as drunk and overconfident of themselves as their fans and media appear to be. Indiana is the disrespected underdog and will be looking for a fight.

This game is unique because both teams are happy to be there... That's not always the case in bowl games matching P5 teams.
 
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RockyTopRowdy58

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So they make light of our out of conference schedule and they played Georgia St,BYU and UT Chattanooga?? Lol

Likely a moot point because 2 of our 5 losses came in the OOC slate... but at least our OOC opponents have a pulse.

Combined record of Indiana's OOC schedule is 8-28, whereas Tennessee's is 30-13.
 

RockyTopRowdy58

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Vegas hates losing money and the spread is 1.5. I’ll just leave with that.

I predicted 31-27 Tennessee... Keeping the Vegas spread in mind. I think Tennessee will outplay Indiana but will have a hard time putting them away. A lot like our Mizzou match up this season.
 

Bowlmania

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Jennings’ ability to pick up yards after the catch stresses any defense and will certainly be a concern for Indiana. I like this match-up a great deal for the Vols.
You didn't mention that Jennings is suspended for the first half as a result of stepping on a Vanderbilt player's face. Class act you've got there.
 
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RockyTopRowdy58

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You didn't mention that Jennings is suspended for the first half as a result of stepping on a Vanderbilt player's face. Class act you've got there.

Have you seen the video? Didn't look intentional and the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

JJ is a dawg. He's had to earn his way back on the team after some unacceptable behavior, and he did just that.

I believe he's the hardest receiver in the country according to PFF.

If you want to play with a bunch of choir boys be my guest, but JJ has turned himself around and is a good dude. The dawg on the field didn't die though.
 

mattndallas

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Fair enough assessment.

The good thing is, we'll actually play the game so all of this analysis can be verified.

In regards to special teams, Whop has been unimpressive on returns given his potential...feels like we lost over 200 yards this season from him not fielding punts when he should have.

Our kicking, however, has been flawless (save Purdue). Having a backup kicker (from Tenn ironically) that can nail 60 yarders speaks volumes.

I expect us to be fairly equal, actually, but those last two wins for Tenn tell me they have some pop. Two fairly salty wins on the road to get bowl eligible, plus one.
 
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Look for the Vols to win a very close game...coaches have been doing an excellent job with halftime adjustments during the turnaround of this season...saw a stat where over the last 7 games they are averaging giving up just 5.6 points per 2nd half...obviously not a who's who of opponents during that stretch but impressive nonetheless ...honestly the only outcome that would surprise me would be a blowout by either team
 
Feb 9, 2006
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Guys it’s all about how our QB plays. If he’s playing well Tennessee wins by 21pts. If he is all over the place, which is just as possible as playing good, Tennessee could be in trouble. I will say our defense has played much better than anyone could have expected, especially the 2nd half of the year. Our defense is really fast.
 

Big Red Crimson Buffalo

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Tennessee (7-5, 5-3) returns to the postseason for the first time in three years this week against Indiana (8-4, 5-4) in Jacksonville, Fla. at the Taxslayer Bowl. The Vols will be looking to close the season on a six game win streak with a win. Let's dive into the match-ups for Thursday's contest.

VOLS' PASSING GAME vs. HOOSIERS' SECONDARY
TENNESSEE: Jarrett Guarantano’s renaissance over the second half of the year was one of the enduring storylines of the year. Similarly, Jauan Jennings (57 rec., 942 yards, 8 TDs) closed out his storied career in style. The point being that the Vols’ passing game turned into the backbone of the offense over the last part of the season. Toss in Marquez Callaway (21.8 ypc) and pretty much all of the most reliable weapons at Jim Chaney’s disposal look to be at quarterback and receiver. Guarantano didn’t start the season in the fashion that he or any Tennessee fan had hoped, but he bounced back and closed strong. In the Vols’ five game winning streak to close the year he passed for 1,026 yards with eight touchdowns and just two interceptions. Callaway and Jennings, along with Josh Palmer, give Jim Chaney three big bodied guys to work with who can all make plays after the catch. Jennings’ ability to pick up yards after the catch stresses any defense and will certainly be a concern for Indiana. I like this match-up a great deal for the Vols.

INDIANA: The Hoosiers were decent though certainly not great against the pass this year in terms of total yardage per game given up. They were in the lower third of Big Ten, surrendering 212 yards per game and a pretty healthy 7.1 yard per attempt. The number that jumps out at you here is that the defense came up with a mere five interceptions while surrendering 20 touchdowns passes, the third highest total in the Big Ten. In nine Big Ten games the Hoosiers had a mere three interceptions, so they’re not making a lot of game changing plays in the back end. The one area they did excel at, somewhat ironically given some of the other numbers, was taking away high percentage throws. Indiana held opponents to just 55.9% completion percentage, the third lowest total in the Big Ten. Fifth year senior Andre Brown is one of the most experienced players on the roster with 34 career starts and leads this unit. The two safeties; Khalil Bryant and Bryant Fitzgerald, are probably the two best players in the back end. Bryant was second on the team with 53 tackles and had three double-digit tackle games. Fitzgerald was responsible for three of the Hoosiers’ five interceptions on the season. Again, I like this match-up for Tennessee.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

VOLS' GROUND GAME vs. HOOSIERS' FRONT SEVEN
TENNESSEE: The obvious question here is, did Tennessee find something in Eric Gray during his epic performance against Vanderbilt (246 yards), or was that simply a perfect storm of a young man having a career day against a bad defense? I’m not saying that Vandy didn’t have something to do with it, but I don’t think you can look at the second biggest rushing day in school history and just write it off to bad defense. Gray’s heroics aside, Tennessee hasn’t been a great rushing offense in 2019. The showed some flashes here and there but the 145 yards per game they averaged on the ground ranked them 12th in the SEC and their 4.1 ypc was 13th. Those numbers say a great deal about an offensive line that was not only littered with youth but also spent much of the season juggling through different combinations either as a result of injury or simply looking for something to click. One constant this season was the play of Trey Smith at left guard who overcame a great deal to play the best football of his career, earning 1st team All-SEC honors. With two true freshman tackles in the line-up, this unit could see more benefit than any other group from the extra bowl practices. One big thing to keep an eye on here is the health of center Brandon Kennedy who had a ‘clean up’ procedure done on his knee after the regular season finale. He and Smith were the only two contacts in an ever changing offensive front and he will be missed if he can’t go. Pruitt said this week that Kennedy would be a ‘game time’ decision.

INDIANA: This Hoosier front seven should be a manageable challenge for a Tennessee ground game that showed some flashes of putting things together. For the year Indiana gave up just 3.9 yards per carry but that number ballooned to 4.4 ypc against Big Ten opponents. The Hoosiers have a couple of quality players in senior end Allen Stallings (5.0 sacks) and junior defensive tackle Jerome Johnson (4.0 sacks, 6.5 TFLs) is another quality player on the line. Indiana had some ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performances when it came to run defense. For instance they held Michigan to 87 yards, but that was part of a four game stretch late in the year when Maryland (173), Nebraska (220) and Penn State (192) all gashed them pretty good. This unit was a big reason why opponents converted just 31% of the time on 3rd down, maybe the most impressive defensive stat they own As always seems to be the case in SEC/Big Ten match-ups it will be interesting to see how Indiana’s speed at linebacker holds up against the Vols. Micah McFadden led the defense with 56 stops on the year including 9 TFLs.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

VOLS' SECONDARY vs. HOOSIERS' PASSING GAME
TENNESSEE: By some of the numbers Tennessee was one of the best pass defense teams in the SEC this season. By any estimate senior Nigel Warrior was one of the best defensive backs in the conference, if not the nation, earning All-SEC honors after finally realizing the vast potential many saw in him as a high school prospect. The Vols were fourth in the SEC in yards surrendered through the air (191.2), third in interceptions with 14 while surrendering just 14 touchdown passes on the season. Tennessee also got increasingly better as the year progressed in limiting big plays in the passing game and finished the year allowing opponents to average just 6.7 yards per passing attempt. Warrior has definitely been the leader in the secondary and he got progressively better as the year went on but Tennessee also got improved play as the season progressed from sophomore Bryce Thompson at cornerback, freshman Jaylen McCollough at safety and Shawn Shamburger at the nickel spot. Certainly the way the schedule was set up has something to do with this number, but Tennessee didn’t have an opponent throw for more than 180 yards in any of its last four games.

INDIANA: Junior Peyton Ramsey took over the quarterback job midway through the year, making six starts after one time Tennessee commitment Michael Penix was lost for the year with an injury. Ramsey was more than a competent back up and the passing game is what drives an Indiana offense that averaged 32.3 ppg game in 2019. It’s not exactly like Ramsey was inexperienced. He started all 12 games a year ago before losing his starting spot, and shared time with Penix early this year. When he took over full time he put up some big numbers, throwing for 2,227 yards and 13 TDs against 4 interceptions while completing 69% of his throws. There’s no doubt who his No. 1 target is. Speedy Whop Philyor (5-foot-11, 178) led Indiana with 1,001 yards and five TDs on 69 catches. He’s not a one-man show though. Six different Hoosiers caught at least 26 passes. Tight end Peyton Hendershot is a huge part of the passing game and someone the Vol linebackers will have to account for. He was second on the team with 555 yards on 46 rec. with four touchdowns. Receivers Ty Fryfogle (42 rec., 541 yards, 3 TDs) and Nick Westbrook (38 rec., 524 yards, 5 TDs) are far more than complimentary pieces to Philyor and both are bigger receivers, each in the 6-foot-3 range. Running back Stevie Scott (26 rec., 211 yards) is also someone Tennessee will have to account for in the passing game.

EDGE: INDIANA

VOLS' FRONT SEVEN vs. HOOSIERS' GROUND GAME
TENNESSEE: There were a lot of positive surprises around this football team in 2019, but for me none was bigger than seeing this coaching staff turn a what looked like a suspect front seven back in August into a more than serviceable SEC front as the year progressed. The two seniors who absolutely had to come through; Darrell Taylor and Daniel Bituli, did just that. Young guys who had to step up like freshman Henry To’o To’o, junior college transfer Darrell Middleton and redshirt freshman Greg Emerson did their part and by the end of the year Tennessee was a legitimate SEC defense, capable of making the kind of plays that either win games themselves or ensure victory, as they did on the road at Kentucky and Missouri. The Vols finished the year giving up 337 yards of total offense per game, and this unit was a big reason why. That number may not sound great, but it’s the lowest total for a Tennessee defense in a decade. Perhaps the most surprising attribute of this unit is how they suddenly morphed into one of the best pass rushing defenses in the league. Tennessee finished the year with 30 sacks, 5th in the SEC, with Taylor ranking fifth in the league with 7.0 sacks. That will be a key area to watch against an Indiana offensive line that gave up 23 sacks on the year, a number that doesn’t look as big when you consider they had 439 passing attempts.

INDIANA: The passing game gets most of the ink for Indiana, and rightly so, but the Hoosiers have competent running game behind sophomore Stevie Scott. His numbers were down a bit from when he cracked 1,000 yards as a freshman, but he missed one game and Indiana threw the ball more and he still put up 845 yards on 178 att. with 10 rushing TDs. As noted above, Scott is a versatile back who is a factor in the passing game as well. Indiana tries to spread the workload around a bit but Scott is by far their most productive back. Sampson James gained 250 yards on 70 attempts in a relief role. Ramsey isn’t afraid to pull it down and take off, but did so with varying degrees of success, picking up just 198 yards on 80 attempts. Indiana was almost as unsettled as Tennessee on the offensive front, going with five different starting combinations up front and using three different left tackles but finished the year second in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 443.6 yards per game.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

SPECIAL TEAMS
TENNESSEE: The Vols were sound in the kicking game all year long and many thought Brent Cimaglia should have gotten the nod for first-team All-SEC performer over Rodrigo Blankenship. He finished the year 20-of-24 and was an impressive 8-of-10 from outside 40 yards. Paxton Brooks won the full-time punting job midway through the season, averaging 42.7 yards per punt. Marquez Callaway (15.0 yards per punt return, 1 TD) is a dangerous man on punt returns. Tennessee never really popped a kickoff return this year, but outside of some struggles against Henry Ruggles at Alabama (who made a lot of people miss this year), the return units were strong. Tennessee also blocked two punts and a field goal this year.

INDIANA: The Hoosiers were fairly pedestrian in the return game this fall. Philyor averaged just 4.1 yards on punt return and the Hoosiers didn’t have a kickoff return of more than 39 yards in 34 attempts. Indiana does an excellent job of location punting with Hayden Whitehead (42.1 yards per punt), Only 10 of his 47 punts were returned this year. Justin Logan was just as accurate as Cimaglia this fall, connecting on 14-of-17 field goals, though he made just three outside of 40 yards, going 3-for-5 from that distance.

EDGE: TENNESSEE

ONE MAN'S FEARLESS PREDICTION
Tennessee may not have notched any monumental upsets this fall (though the Vols did win four SEC games as underdogs) but I really think that Indiana’s 8-4 record was padded quite a bit by some less than impressive wins. Their five Big Ten wins came against conference opponents that finished the year a combined 9-37 in Big Ten play. Their other three wins were over Ball State, Eastern Illinois and Connecticut and they needed overtime against a 4-8 Purdue team to avoid closing the season on a three-game losing streak.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but color me unimpressed.

I also don’t mean to suggest that Tennessee’s program is to the point where the Vols can just show up and beat a decent opponent without playing well.

What I do believe is that Tennessee is on a roll. This team gained confidence week-by-week over the last half of the season and winning this bowl game and continuing to build on that momentum means something to this group.

I think Tennessee’s big receivers make some big plays in the passing game. I think the Vols win the turnover battle (remember Indiana has just 5 picks on the year) and I think they do enough in the secondary and with their pass rush to slow down what is a legitimately nice Indiana passing game.

SEC speed almost always seems to show up in this mid-tier match-ups between these two conferences. It certainly has the last three times Tennessee went bowling; against Nebraska, Northwestern and Iowa respectively. I’m guessing it does this week as well and Tennessee finishes the season at 8-5 and on a clear upward trajectory.

TENNESSEE 31, INDIANA 20

Color me not impressed. You have mental issues. You spend 2 hours writing a dissertation on UT football and aren't going to the game? Weak. If you are going to talk a bunch you can at least do your part.
 
Dec 29, 2008
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He was so complimentary, calling our passing game "nice." I'm sure he thinks Tennessee's aerial game is vastly superior. And while he did that in depth analysis he failed to mention our performance at Penn State, which came after a bye week to prepare a week longer and have more rest. That will be the case again today and unless the Vols have a strong rush on Ramsey you will see that strength on display.
 
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daddyhoosier

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Thanks for putting this together.

One correction: Fitz didn't have 3 INTs. He didn't have any actually and no one on IU had more than one.

Also Fitz lost his starting job in the second half of the season. I would say Burgess and Bryant have been the best at Safety coming down the stretch. I'm sure Fitzgerald will get some snaps though.

One big thing I am watching is whether the Hoosiers can keep Callaway under wraps in the first half. If he doesn't take a long one to the house and IU goes into half number two with a lead I like our chances.

The other big thing is which team has the edge in terms of motivation. I think the match-up is more even than Tennessee fans would like to concede so it may come down to simply who is hungrier.
 
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RockyTopRowdy58

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Nov 8, 2006
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Thanks for putting this together.

One correction: Fitz didn't have 3 INTs. He didn't have any actually and no one on IU had more than one.

Also Fitz lost his starting job in the second half of the season. I would say Burgess and Bryant have been the best at Safety coming down the stretch. I'm sure Fitzgerald will get some snaps though.

One big thing I am watching is whether the Hoosiers can keep Callaway under wraps in the first half. If he doesn't take a long one to the house and IU goes into half number two with a lead I like our chances.

The other big thing is which team has the edge in terms of motivation. I think the match-up is more even than Tennessee fans would like to concede so it may come down to simply who is hungrier.

Our offense is definitely at its best when we can push the ball up the field. Callaway, Palmer, and Jennings all have NFL potential.

We aren’t as consistent as IU throwing the ball though. Higher highs but lower lows.
 

Pirate73

Newcomer
Jan 18, 2010
15
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Fair, but ....

A couple things...

Your kicking game was maybe better for a bad reason - IU got 1,000 more yards than Tennessee, 100 more points, 16 more TDs. Until the Bucket Game, we were 14-14 for FGs.

Plus, turnovers matter. Tennessee fumbled it 5 more times than IU and threw 3 more picks.

Two hungry teams.
Should be a great game.
What does that have to do with the QUALITY of the kicking game?
 

Pirate73

Newcomer
Jan 18, 2010
15
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Color me not impressed. You have mental issues. You spend 2 hours writing a dissertation on UT football and aren't going to the game? Weak. If you are going to talk a bunch you can at least do your part.
Colour me unimpressed with your intelligence! He was VERY clear where that came from and Rob is quite good at his match ups. You have ZERO to add to the discussion so you ATTACK the poster (really YOURSELF)?!?
 
Feb 9, 2006
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Thanks for putting this together.

One correction: Fitz didn't have 3 INTs. He didn't have any actually and no one on IU had more than one.

Also Fitz lost his starting job in the second half of the season. I would say Burgess and Bryant have been the best at Safety coming down the stretch. I'm sure Fitzgerald will get some snaps though.

One big thing I am watching is whether the Hoosiers can keep Callaway under wraps in the first half. If he doesn't take a long one to the house and IU goes into half number two with a lead I like our chances.

The other big thing is which team has the edge in terms of motivation. I think the match-up is more even than Tennessee fans would like to concede so it may come down to simply who is hungrier.


We have 3 guys who can run by anyone to the house. Palmer #5 is our best deep threat. He’s averaging around 20 yards per catch this year and was around 25 YPC last year.
 

MyTeamIsOnTheFloor

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What does that have to do with the QUALITY of the kicking game?

Nothing.

You missed the POINT.

Its about POINTS.

Quality of kicking is irrelevant when you have fewer POINTS.

If we score TOUCHDOWNS and they score FGS, we get more POINTS.

This ain’t ice skating.

And on the season, we scored 100 more POINTS because we scored TOUCHDOWNS instead of FGs.

Plus, if you do a little homework, you’ll find that as a team, IU finished 16-19 for 84% in FGs. Tennessee finished 20-24 for 83%. And the 3 IU missed came in the last game, at Purdue, on a sloppy mud field Because Purdue, despite being an ag school, can’t maintain a football field.

See ya at the yard, Pirate.
If your team prepares like you do, we got this.
 

Cutter1973

Freshman
Sep 26, 2017
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Color me not impressed. You have mental issues. You spend 2 hours writing a dissertation on UT football and aren't going to the game? Weak. If you are going to talk a bunch you can at least do your part.
Try not to embarrass IU fans on here like you embarrass yourself on the basketball forum. Did you actually believe that Billy Bucktooth wrote an entire dissertation by himself? You are getting killed in this thread, just give it up or go back in there and kick some ass! I will watch and laugh at you getting smoked, because arguing with Billy Bucktooth is about as stupid as Billy Bucktooth.
 

RockyTopRowdy58

Recruit
Nov 8, 2006
75
52
18
Try not to embarrass IU fans on here like you embarrass yourself on the basketball forum. Did you actually believe that Billy Bucktooth wrote an entire dissertation by himself? You are getting killed in this thread, just give it up or go back in there and kick some ass! I will watch and laugh at you getting smoked, because arguing with Billy Bucktooth is about as stupid as Billy Bucktooth.

I like to think I’m quite capable of articulating my thoughts, both rhetorically and in writing.

I went to college and everything.
 

Cutter1973

Freshman
Sep 26, 2017
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Do I need to use smaller words or something? Not sure how much more hand holding I can do here.
You were very clear in the title. No need to hold anymore hands here.
I know you need to get off the porch and get back to picking ginseng, making moonshine, collecting moss or whatever you do for a livin. Hope you make it back to the Internet Cafe from the “mountains” so you can catch the game. Please stop by after the game and let us know your thoughts win or lose. Thanks...bye now.
 
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RockyTopRowdy58

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Nov 8, 2006
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You were very clear in the title. No need to hold anymore hands here.
I know you need to get off the porch and get back to picking ginseng, making moonshine, collecting moss or whatever you do for a livin. Hope you make it back to the Internet Cafe from the “mountains” so you can catch the game. Please stop by after the game and let us know your thoughts win or lose. Thanks...bye now.

I'll give that one a 7/10.

The ginseng and moss comments carried you there. Moonshine and lack of internet are played out.
 
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Cutter1973

Freshman
Sep 26, 2017
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this is like watching a Amish doc filmed in Indiana and assuming everyone takes a horse and buggy to the farmers market up there. Knoxville is not Appalachia.
Keep working on that reading comprehension and grammar. If you keep visiting other team’s forums you might learn enough to move to a town like Knoxville. Your Mammy and Pappy would be sad though and who will haul the water up from the creek and skin the squirrels?
 

RockyTopRowdy58

Recruit
Nov 8, 2006
75
52
18
Keep working on that reading comprehension and grammar. If you keep visiting other team’s forums you might learn enough to move to a town like Knoxville. Your Mammy and Pappy would be sad though and who will haul the water up from the creek and skin the squirrels?

0/10

You’re better than this
 

MyTeamIsOnTheFloor

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Do I need to use smaller words or something? Not sure how much more hand holding I can do here.

"No words can hold the iron." Chief Ten Bears.

The point is you can’t go to the Tennessee Rivals site and talk about football. The free board there has 13 threads started in the whole month of December. Two are about Trump. One is spam about AIDS in Norway. As is true with most of the sites from the SEC, the fans there hide behind a pay wall, and a business designed for rivals to talk with rivals doesn’t result rivals talking with rivals.

(Plus, as you can already see, too many equate poor insults with good smack talk. But more about that later)

And just so it will be out there before I stop posting, do a little work and go watch the game, that Vol Quest article - as did/do many IU folks - fails to credit Ramsey's best strength.

Penix throws frozen ropes in a millisecond.
Ramsey is more reserved. Coaches kid. Less arm. Like a point guard. A coach on the field.
But if your DE's and LB's think it will be easy to catch him, they will be surprised.
At one time, he was said to be the second fastest kid on our team.
And he is one tough hombre.
He helicoptered for a huge first down to preserve a win.
He took a targeting shot (uncalled) to his breast bone, straight on - in the Nebraska. Most QB's woulda held a funeral. He got up and beat Nebraska after they spent all week thinking their history would suit up and play.

Plus, anybody who watched Minnesota beat Auburn saw what a play caller can do with one receiver who can't be covered and a QB who can get him the ball. Its opens up everything and puts lights on a scoreboard. The Ramsey/Whop duo has been that for us.

Reminds me of a story tho.
Used to be a kid called King Kelly Coleman who played basketball in eastern Kentucky Appalachia.
(Wayland - if you wanna look it up.)
UK wanted him, but he was gonna go to WVU, until UK allegedly claimed WVU allegedly gave him a car.
So he allegedly couldn't go to WVU and allegedly wouldn't go to UK.
So he went to Kentucky Wesleyan.
Got regionally famous.
Eventually set the scoring record (and emptied out the dorm with a shotgun once or twice after a party).
Anyway, Wesleyan and Southern Illinois played home and away back in those days.
Wesleyan won their home game.
Headed for Carbondale later in the year and the Saluki coach got himself quoted in the paper as saying "It's simple to beat Wesleyan - just stop Kelly Coleman."
Coleman lit em up and their coach said "Can't beat Wesleyan - because you can't stop Kelly Coleman."

Lesson/POINT - "Be careful - smack talk can have consequences."

I won't say Ramsey/Whop can't be stopped, but I will say the only team that really dominated us when we had them was Ohio State - early in the year, in Ramsey first game subbing for an injured Penix. (Michigan was the only other team that beat us soundly, and Whop was out.)

Good luck.

(PS - if you wanna check on those Purdue stories, drive north til you smell it, then west until you step in it.)
 
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