I have pretty much been shut out on bold predictions this season, but that changes tonight. For the first time this season, Tennessee will have a receiver catch two touchdown passes in a game. JaVonta Payton, Cedric Tillman, and Velus Jones have all been red hot of late, so I will double down on bold predictions with this one. I'll roll with the stat of a Tennessee receiver catching two touchdowns, and I will pick Jones to be that receiver.
Hendon Hooker is supposed to start at quarterback, after being able to work back from a deep knee bruise, so he may not be as mobile, which means Tennessee will have to work with quick hitters, and this fits Jones game. I like him to be the guy to get this done tonight.
For this week’s bold prediction, I’m taking a look at the passing game for both teams. Tennessee’s secondary has been very solid this season, especially against Matt Corral last week, and I expect more of the same against the Tide.
However, on the other side of the ball, with speedy Vol wideouts and Hendo Cinco starting, Tennessee’s passing game will be its bright spot.
Hendon Hooker has not passed for more yards than Bryce Young in a single game this season. Not only will that change on Saturday, but Hooker will pass for 50+ more yards than Young, due to both game script and what I mentioned above.
To ensure that this is bold enough, I’ll add the fact that Hooker’s combined pass and rush yards have not exceeded Young’s passing yards totals in four out of seven games this year.
For my bold prediction, I’m sticking with Tennessee’s secondary and defensive line, which have impressed far more than we expected coming into this season.
I think the Vols get at least two interceptions against Bryce Young — who has only thrown three picks all season — with at least one coming from Theo Jackson.
Moreover, I think Byron Young and Tyler Baron get at least one sack apiece, as this UT defense proves its worth once again.