Tennessee football vs. Arkansas preview and prediction

Tennessee football heads into its sixth game of the season after its bye week. The game on Saturday is against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Both teams have a season record of 2-3. At the beginning of the football season, I would have told anyone the Vols will beat the Razorbacks without ease, but that isn’t the case anymore.

The Vols started the season off 2-0 after defeating South Carolina and Missouri. Those two games advanced the team’s winning streak to eight. All was well in Knoxville until the Georgia game. That is when the downfall started. And unfortunately for the Vols, the derailing hasn’t stopped since.

Tennessee football has a three-game losing streak after losing to Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama. There is no momentum going toward Tennessee football, which is why Saturday can pose an issue for the Volunteers.

Let’s look into the significant factors going into the game and then see my game prediction.

Vols coming off a crucial bye-week

The bye-week could not have come at a better time for the Volunteers. The week off from playing allowed the team to focus on the defense, offense and special teams and figure out how to get back to Tennessee football. During the week, head coach Jeremy Pruitt had a teleconference on Wednesday and spoke on the team’s progress.

“We spent lots of times just in individual (drills), where we kind of go back and working on things that you do the first, second, third, fourth, fifth day at practice.”

Tennessee offense

Pruitt chose to keep the fifth-year senior Jarrett Guarantano at the starting quarterback position. Whether or not he plays all four quarters heavily relies on his ability to produce momentum. Pruitt is not afraid to pull Guarantano out if things start going south.

The offense needs to focus on running the ball. Luckily for Tennessee, Arkansas’ defensive line struggles with stopping the run game. The Razorbacks allow the third most rushing yards per game in the SEC. The offensive line will provide success for the offense this week. If the line does its job, the running game will gain the yardage it needs to win the game.

Tennessee defense

Tennessee’s defense has had a lot of setbacks and difficulties this season. Defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh was fired after the Kentucky game, so now Pruitt is overseeing the unit for the remainder of the season. With that said, there isn’t much consistency surrounding the defensive line, but luckily Arkansas’ running game is not very strong this season, as it averages 126 yards per game. There should not be any damage made from Arkansas’ running backs, but more from its passing game.

Tennessee’s secondary is the key to the defense for this Saturday. Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks is going get the ball where the Vols secondary struggles the most, the middle of the field. If the secondary cannot stop the ball in the air, then the Vols will be in some serious trouble.

Prediction: Tennessee 27, Arkansas 24