Jeremy Pruitt’s 3-6 Tennessee Volunteers will take on Jimbo Fisher’s #5 Texas A&M Aggies in Neyland Stadium. This is the last home game for the Vols this season, having gone just 1-3 so far this season in Neyland.
Tennessee snapped their 6 game losing streak and defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 42-17. However despite the 25 point victory over the 0-9 Commodores, the seat is still hot for Jeremy Pruitt.
Jeremy Pruitt must have a good coaching performance come Saturday and hope for a win or at least be competitive against the Aggies. If Tennessee loses again Saturday, this will be Pruitt’s 2nd 7 loss season and the Vols 6th 7 loss season in the last 10 years.
Texas A&M will be doing everything they can to win come Saturday and potentially get the final College Football Playoff spot. Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies have a 6 game win streak and are ranked #5 in the CFP rankings.
The last time these two teams face was in 2016 in College Station where Tennessee lost 45-38 in double overtime.
Pruitt is coaching for his job, and Texas A&M is playing for a College Football Playoff spot. In order for Jeremy Pruitt to cool down his hot seat and Tennessee get their first win over a Top 5 team since 2005, here is what they must do:
Stop The Aggies Run Game
The Aggies have one of the most underrated run games in the conference. RB Isiah Spiller has been great for the Aggies this season, rushing for 897 yards and 6 TDs and averaging 5.9 yards a game.
Spiller is ranked 3rd in the SEC behind Alabama’s Najee Harris and South Carolina’s in rushing yards. Spiller plays a large part of this offense and averages nearly 19 carries a game.
Tennessee is ranked 34th in Rushing Defense, allowing just 133.3 rushing yards a game.
Henry To’oto’o will be able to contain him but the Vols must have Quavaris Crouch and Jeremy Banks step up and be able to shut down the run game.
Production From QB Position
The Vols had great production from the passing game and threw for 328 yards in their win over Vanderbilt last Saturday. Bailey had a great game, throwing 14/18 for 208 yards and 2 TDs. JT Shrout went 6/13 for 90 yards, 2 TDs, and an INT.
While the throwing game was good last Saturday, it is important to remember that this was against a terrible Vanderbilt defense.
Texas A&M is ranked 61st in Passing Yards Allowed, allowing 228 passing yards a game.
However, they are one of the better total defenses Tennessee has faced this year, ranked 21st in Total Defense.
The freshman will have open looks and opportunities to get some points for this Tennessee offense. If Bailey can get into his groove much like he did last Saturday and play smart football, Tennessee will have a chance in this football game to make things interesting. However, if he gets into a slump like he did in the 2nd half against Florida and the Vols have to look at other options, it is going to be a long Saturday for Jeremy Pruitt.
Contain Kellen Mond
This may seem like an obvious one, but the one thing Tennessee must do to beat Texas A&M is contain QB Kellen Mond. The Senior has thrown for 1,769 yards, 18 TDs, and 2 INTs in the season.
Mond has thrown the fewest interceptions in the conference with just 2 this season.
Mond also has thrown the 4th most touchdowns in the conference behind Matt Corral from Ole Miss, Mac Jones from Alabama, and Kyle Trask from Florida.
Tennessee’s Defensive Line must find a way to get to him and put pressure on him. If Edge Rushers like Deandre Johnson can get into the pocket and make him uncomfortable, the Vols will have a shot. But if Tennessee’s D-Line struggles again like how they have for most of the season to put pressure on the QB, this could potentially be the last game in the Jeremy Pruitt Era.