There's more to Neyland Stadium than concrete, glass and steel.
For Tennessee's football team this season, it's been a lot more like a favorite sweatshirt or a warm quilt on a chilly night.
"You start winning at home, it's the psyche," Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge said. "I think anytime you're at home that comfort level is kind of there."
Lately, it's been more than just comfortable.
Entering today's 2 p.m. kickoff against Vanderbilt (TV: Pay-per-view), the Vols have outscored their last four opponents 93-3 in the first half at home.
During that stretch, which dates back to a 35-14 win over Georgia, only Arkansas has put any points on the board.
And for all the offensive struggles in the second half, the 19th-ranked Vols have scored 10 touchdowns and tried four field goals in the first half of those games.
How's that for home-field advantage?
"I think it starts at the Vol Walk," senior defensive end Xavier Mitchell said. "We hear tons of shouts like, 'Go get'em.' 'Get us a sack,'
"The fans, they want us to do well. You may not get a sack or an interception, but you know what kind of an effort they would like you to play with. There's a lot more to this team than just the players and the coaches."
Mitchell and Tennessee's 22 other seniors will go through their last Vol Walk and run through the "T" for the last time this afternoon.
And before going on the road for a possible SEC East-clinching victory next week at Kentucky, the Volunteers (7-3, 4-2 SEC) can wrap up their first undefeated home season since 1999 with a victory today over the Commodores.
To get there, the Vols have to do better than they did the last time Vanderbilt visited Tennessee.
In its last trip, Vandy put the dagger in Tennessee's worst season since 1988, when quarterback Jay Cutler engineered the game-winning drive to snap Tennessee's 22-game winning streak over its in-state rival.
This time, the Commodores (5-5, 2-5) don't have a first-round NFL draft pick at quarterback, but they have a balanced offense and one of the best defenses in the conference.
The Commodores get to the quarterback more than any other conference team besides LSU, averaging more than two sacks a game.
All-SEC linebacker Jonathan Goff leads a defense that ranks third in the league in scoring defense (21.5 points per game) and third in total defense (325.7 yards per game).
"They're the best defense in the conference," UT offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe said. "Not a lot of opportunities, period. They really provide a lot of challenges."
Lately, so have the Vols.
Since giving up 41 points and more than 500 yards at Alabama, Tennessee's defense has risen to the occasion.
Against South Carolina, the Vols' defense bowed its back late and in overtime provide a win.
Last week against Arkansas, the defense shut down Heisman Trophy hopeful Darren McFadden and the SEC's most potent run game.
Tennessee has also been rolling on special teams.
And then there's the takeaways.
In their last three games, the Vols have had nine turnovers, seven of which are interceptions.
"It makes all the difference in the world," UT coach Phillip Fulmer said. "When you take care of the football, you don't have penalties, you play the kicking game well and you get takeaways, you're going to win most of your games if everything's even."
According to odds makers, today's game isn't even.
The Vols enter as double-digit favorites, a role players said this week they'll be prepared to handle after playing so well this season as underdogs.
For one last time, the Vols will play on familiar turf, with a chance to finish off a perfect season in Neyland Stadium.
"Last couple years, we haven't played well at home, but we stepped up to the challenge this year," says receiver Josh Briscoe. "Our fans have been great. They've been here for us. We've got to continue to build on that and carry that to the away games."
If the Vols manage a victory today, there's one more looming.
Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.