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South Alabama7010724
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South Alabama (2-1) at Tennessee (2-2)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 28, 12:21 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Neyland Stadium (102,455) -- Knoxville, Tennessee. Television: SEC Network, MSG, ESPN3.com. Home Record: USA 1-1, UT 2-0. Away Record: USA 1-0, UT 0-2. Neutral Record: USA 0-0, UT 0-0. Conference Record: USA 1-0, UT 0-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: Coming off back-to-back road losses against nationally-ranked foes, the Tennessee Volunteers return home for a non-conference clash with the South Alabama Jaguars on Saturday afternoon.

After winning just two games during its inaugural FBS campaign in 2012, South Alabama has already matched that total this season after just three contests. The Jaguars had a disappointing defeat in their opener against FCS opponent Southern Utah (22-21), but since then they have captured victories over Tulane (41-39), and Western Kentucky (31-24) in their Sun Belt Conference opener on Sept. 14.

The Butch Jones era of Tennessee football got off to a flying start after the team blew out Austin Peay (45-0) and WKU (52-20) in the first two weeks of the season. The Vols then departed on a two-game road trip, and after getting trounced by Oregon (59-14) on Sept. 14, they fell to SEC rival Florida last weekend, 31-17, in a game where they committed six turnovers. The squad's difficult schedule picks back up in October with bouts against Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, all of which are currently ranked in the top-12.

The Vols and the Jaguars have never before met on the football field.

The South Alabama offense ranks in middle of the pack in the Sun Belt both in terms of yardage (404.7 ypg) and scoring (31.0 ppg). Its efficiency could use some improvement, as it converts less than 40 percent of its third downs and has scored touchdowns on just 58 percent of its trips to the red zone.

Ross Metheny has been impressive under center, completing greater than 67 percent of his pass attempts for 595 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He has a nose for the end zone on the ground, adding three rushing scores.

Jay Jones leads the team with 205 yards on 31 carries (6.6 ypg) while crossing the goal line once. Brandon Bridge has also accumulated more than six yards per rush by turning 15 attempts into 101 yards.

Wes Saxton (185 yards), Shavarez Smith (181 yards TD), Jereme Jones (144 yards, TD) and Danny Woodson (129 yards, TD) give the Jaguars one of the deepest receiving corps in their league.

On the surface, the Jaguars defense (28.3 ppg, 372.0 ypg) has not stood out, but the unit is good enough to rank first in the Sun Belt in total defense and second in scoring defense.

After missing the first two games of the season, Tyrell Pearson returned against WKU and picked off two passes to earn SBC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Qudarius Ford and Enrique Williams both have 26 tackles to lead the team, while Romelle Jones has 3.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks.

Although the Tennessee offense (32.0 ppg) experienced such a strong start to the season, its production has tapered off greatly as the competition improved, scoring 17 points or less in back-to-back games. The unit ranks last in the SEC in total offense (341.2 ypg).

Freshman quarterback Nathan Peterman had his first career start versus Florida last Saturday, but his nightmarish afternoon ended after going just 4-of-11 for five yards and two interceptions. Justin Worley too struggled against the Gators (10-of-23, 149 yards, TD, two INTs), but he at least has twice as many touchdowns (six) as picks (three) this season, while Peterman has yet to score.

The strength of the unit comes from the running game, as Rajion Neal (299 yards, four TDs) and Marlin Lane (214 yards, three TDs) are both used to great effect, although the duo gained only 58 combined yards versus Florida.

Marquez North is the only player with double-digit receptions, hauling in 12 passes for 112 yards. Alton Howard (112 yards) and Brendan Downs (22 yards) each have a pair of touchdown catches.

Tennessee's defense has allowed 27.5 ppg and 418.2 ypg on the season, and that's factoring in a contest at Oregon (59 points allowed). The unit managed to hold Florida in check last week despite the offense handing the Gators outstanding field position all afternoon.

With three more takeaways against UF, the Vols' season total is up to 12 (eight INTs, four fumble recoveries), third-most in the country. Brian Randolph has a pair of picks to go with 25 tackles, while Cameron Sutton has an interception and a fumble recovery. A.J. Johnson, a Preseason First Team All-SEC selection at linebacker, has a team-high 27 stops.

South Alabama is vastly improved from a season ago, and its sneaky good defense could cause problems for the Vols and their erratic quarterback play, but after a couple of treacherous road games, Tennessee will relish the opportunity of playing an unranked team at home.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee 27, South Alabama 17

09/25 10:34:45 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
 
Final
CHI 103
NYK 97
Final
HOU 90
NOP 99
Final
SAC 107
MIL 108
Final
GSW 114
OKC 109
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
UTA
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
POR
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
 
Final
RICE 72
STTHOMASTX 61
 
Final
UVA 70
CLST 54
Final
LIU 69
FIU 58
 
Final
STET 67
GSOUT 76
 
Final
QUIN 80
LEH 65
 
Final
SFLA 69
SHU 89
Final
RICH 65
SALA 54
Final
CAN 60
USB 59
 
Final
DEL 62
TEMPL 82
Final
WCU 56
WRST 69
 
Final
VERM 56
YALE 57
 
Final
SDKST 75
IDST 72
 
Final
RIDE 62
MRGST 48
 
Final
LATU 79
NICST 54
 
Final
CHAR 75
APP 65
Final
MISS 71
CCAR 68
 
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
Final
BRAD 80
EUREK 38
 
Final
PEAY 76
OAKC 52
 
Final
JST 66
SMISS 46
 
Final
SD 55
MNTST 53
 
Final
UAB 70
LSU 79
Final
EVAN 81
OHIO 69
 
Final
CSFU 72
CSDH 50
 
Final
ORST 90
DEP 59
Final
PAC 69
NEV 65
Final
USF 77
PORST 40
 
Final
IDAHO 86
WALLA 39
 
Final
UTST 57
CALST 56
 
1:30pm Today
YOUNG
WILB
 
2:00pm Today
TULA
JST
 
6:00pm Tonight
RAD
SIENA
 
7:00pm Tonight
MERC
COOK
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
CASEWEST
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIB
CPNC
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
CLEM
 
7:00pm Tonight
CMICH
CONC
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
EKENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
GWEBB
HIWASSEE
 
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
MDES
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
NIAG
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NCAT
 
7:00pm Tonight
FAM
UNF
 
7:00pm Tonight
NORST
NARZ
 
7:00pm Tonight
DART
NILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
MORE
NKENTUCKY
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCSB
SDCHR
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJ
GAELS
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALA
STILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
HAMP
TENST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENN
TENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMARY
WSHMD
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLGC
FUR
 
7:30pm Tonight
CALST
SDKST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MTST
CHAT
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDAK
DICKINSON
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
LSUALEX
 
8:00pm Tonight
PRIN
LIP
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
MLGN
 
8:00pm Tonight
MINN
SEAT
 
8:00pm Tonight
LOYC
SUTAH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
WINT
 
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
NO
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
ALAAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
TTU
ARKPB
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
COLST
 
9:00pm Tonight
CREI
TXPA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EWASH
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
IDST
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
 
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
Final
PIT 1
COL 0
Final
PHI 1
FLA 2
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
CLB 4
WAS 5
Final
MON 1
ANA 2
Final
SJS 4
EDM 3
Final
LOS 6
STL 4
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
TAM
 
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
ANA
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
NYI
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
BOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
DAL
 
Final
JAC 21
TEN 13