UT kickers vs. The uprights
The Vols are expected to do two things against Akron on Saturday — move the ball and score points. With those two facets of the game comes a third — extra points and field-goal attempts. Thus far in 2012, the UT kicking game has muddled somewhere between woeful and laughable. Michael Palardy started the season and promptly missed a 39-yard field goal and two extra points, and was replaced by walk-on kicker Derrick Brodus. He, in turn, shanked a missed extra point last week. What happens this week is anyone's guess.
UT red-zone defense vs. Akron offense
The Zips scored on two of three trips inside the 20 against Central Florida, on five of five attempts against Florida International and six of eight trips against Morgan State. The Tennessee defense has surrendered points each of the nine times an opponent has crossed its 20-yard line. If Akron can sustain drives and reach deep into UT territory, the odds say the Zips will come away with points.
UT MLB A.J. Johnson: "It's A.J., he can do anything," UT coach Derek Dooley said on Monday. And nowadays the Preseason All-SEC third-team selection is being asked to do exactly that. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound linebacker twice lined up in the Wildcat formation as a quarterback a week ago, scoring one touchdown. Back on the defensive side, Johnson led the Vols with 11 tackles.
Akron QB Dalton Williams: The fifth-year senior is one of the few quarterbacks ranked above UT's Tyler Bray in multiple passing categories this season. The transfer from Stephen F. Austin is ranked in the top 15 nationally in touchdown passes (t-2nd, 10), total points responsible for (t-3rd, 64 points), passing yards (4th, 1,004), completions per game (7th, 31.33) and total offense (11th, 330.0 ypg). Behind Williams, Akron leads the Mid-American Conference in total offense (496.3 ypg) and passing offense (378.0 ypg).
The Vols' rush defense: Florida accumulated 336 of its 555 total yards on the ground during last week's win at Neyland Stadium. Three different Gators — running backs Mike Gillislee and Trey Burton, along with quarterback Jeff Driskel — rushed for more than 80 yards as the Florida ground game produced rushing touchdowns of 14 and 80 yards. Akron doesn't quite offer such a potent attack, leading rusher Jawon Chisholm has carried 37 times for 189 yards in three games.
The Zips' rush defense: If the Vols can win a game on the ground this year, this might be it. In its two games against BCS opponents (Central Florida, Florida International), Akron has surrendered 202 yards and 236 yards rushing and a combined seven rushing downs.
Tweets Of The Week
Diocese of Knoxville account
Kudos to the University of Tennessee for saying that praying before football games at Neyland Stadium does not violate the U.S. Constitution.Knoxville-based marketing and public relations professional
Overheard: "Why is #Tennessee even playing the little University of #Akron?" — Univ. of Akron has 29,200 full-time students, UT has 27,500UT linebacker Herman Lathers
The difference between try and triumph is a little umph! So stop making excuses and start making adjustments!