This could be a very, very nice test run for a Tennessee team that might be looking a wee bit ahead to the showdown with Oklahoma next week. Bowling Green, though, is good enough to challenge for the MAC title. With four of the first five games on the road, the Falcons have a rough stretch to start the season, but with almost everyone back on offense, they’re going to put up more than a fight.
Below we dive into the Tennessee vs. Bowling Green prediction and game preview.
Tennessee vs. Bowling Green Prediction & Preview
Date: Saturday, September 5
Game Time: 4:00 ET
Network: SEC Network
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Why You Need To Care
Tennessee is everyone’s fashionable SEC team with lots of flash, lots of young talent, and lots of potential. With ten starters back on offense including Joshua Dobbs, the team that ripped off four wins in the final five games should finally bring the program back to prominence. At least that’s the hope. It’s not a complete team yet, and there are plenty of areas that need work, but this should be an interesting ride with a fun team.
Bowling Green got back to the MAC championship game for the second season in a row, but it was a rough late stretch to the season with three straight losses before closing out with a bowl win over South Alabama. The defense was a rumor, and the offense didn’t show up on a consistent basis, but Matt Johnson returns at quarterback after getting banged up early on and missing almost the entire season. The O line is going to be tremendous, Travis Greene is a terrific running back, and there are more than enough weapons. Again, the Falcons are going to be more than a pushover.
Why Bowling Green Will Win
Is the Tennessee offensive line going to be appreciably better? The running game took a while to get going, and the pass protection wasn’t there. The Falcons might not have any sure-thing pass rushers without Bryan Thomas around anymore, but they should be able to dial it up a bit and make things happen behind the line. Tennessee will try to get physical, and it will, but the Falcons should be able to answer with some offensive pop of their own.
Why Tennessee Will Win
The Vol offense should be able to do what it wants against what should be another porous Falcon D. Only four starters are back on a defense that couldn’t stop anyone’s passing attack and was lousy against the run. It doesn’t help that the top four tacklers are gone and there are few sure things, so there shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the Tennessee attack to control the clock and third downs early on,
Player Who Matters
Can Jalen Hurd pick up where he left off? The Bowling Green run defense allowed 200 rushing yards or more five times and allowed 13 touchdowns over the final four games, and that’s where Hurd comes in for the Vols. The pounding back kicked it in as a true freshman with 100 yards or more in three of the final five games, including a 122-yard, two score day against Iowa in the bowl win. He should control the game.
What’s Going To Happen?
Tennessee will come up with the fireworks the fans are waiting for, but the defense will give up its share of big plays. Bowling Green has the offense to stay in the game, but it’s not going to slow down the Vol attack.
Tennessee vs. Bowling Green Prediction
It’s that time, folks … the Tennessee vs. Bowling Green prediction is …
Final Score: Tennessee 48, Bowling Green 24