Tennessee Stat Book
Cincinnati wide receiver D.J. Woods vs. Tennessee cornerbacks Marsalis Teague/Justin Coleman
Woods, who caught 57 passes for nearly 900 yards and eight touchdowns last year, is the top target for Bearcats quarterback Zach Collaros. Woods isn't a prototypical deep threat, but he can turn short catches into long gains in a hurry. He'll be in frequent motion, which means both Coleman and Teague will have their fair share of snaps to try and contain the shifty receiver.
UT's offensive line vs. Cincinnati's defensive line
Both units are coming off efforts they'd probably be better off forgetting, but for different reasons. The Vols didn't generate nearly enough push against Montana last week and, as a result, the running game never got off the ground. The Bearcats, meanwhile, faced an overmatched Austin Peay team that barely provided much in the form of a tune-up. The Vols will have to be better than last week while Cincinnati's front four will try to pick up where it left off last year as the Bearcat defense's lone bright spot, ranking 39th in the nation in rush defense.
UT LB Daryl Vereen: An afterthought of sorts during the preseason after freshmen A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt passed him on the depth chart, Vereen used his speed and veteran savvy to lead the Vols with six tackles last week against Montana. The Vols' nickel linebacker, Vereen will be on the field today just as much as he was against the Grizzlies' spread attack. His side-to-side speed will be key in preventing short passes from turning into big gains and containing the mobile Collaros.
Cincinnati WR Anthony McClung: The third receiver behind Woods and deep-ball target Kenbrell Thompkins, McClung caught as many touchdowns last week against Austin Peay — two — as he did all of his freshman season. The Bearcats aren't young in many places, but wide receiver is an area where true experience is hard to find. McClung's emergence is vital because the Bearcats need more than two reliable pass-catchers in their spread attack.
UT WR Zach Rogers: Tyler Bray could have connected with Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers whenever he wanted in last week's season opener — and he largely did. At some point, though, he'll need to look elsewhere, and he'll need more than the one catch Rogers had against Montana. The injury-prone Rogers is as healthy as he's been since the beginning of the camp. Staying that way and producing at the level he's proven to be capable of will only make the Vols' dynamic passing game that much better.
Cincinnati's preparedness: It's hard to call what the Bearcats did for three or so hours to Austin Peay last week a legitimate non-conference victory. Not only are the Governors a bad FCS team, they're one of the worst. An inter-squad scrimmage might have been a better test for the Bearcats, who also will be playing in front of 75,000 more fans than last week, when 23,282 showed up for the ugly romp.
Tweets of the Week
Lisa Horne, Los Angeles-based Fox Sports football and NASCAR reporter
- Upset of the Week pick: Cincy over Tennessee. Carpe Diem.
Marshall Ramsey, nationally syndicated cartoonist and UT alum
- Mentioned to my wife that I wanted a pair of bright orange pants like Derek Dooley is wearing. I think she likes the idea - She's laughing.
UT wide receiver Matt Milton
- I like (Herschel) Walker and all but espn needs to stop showing that run he had against UT #VFL
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports columnist
My fave fake realignment story? Larry Scott in Boise to recruit to P12. Recruit? If he likes them on facebook they'd come
Cecil Hurt, Tuscaloosa News columnist
- At what point does Baylor resort to standing in the rain outside Kyle Field holding a boombox playing Peter Gabriel songs?
Tennessee 44, Cincinnati 42
There are so many offensive playmakers on both of these teams, one third-down stop by one of the defenses might be all it takes to win.