Tennessee Volunteers vs. NC State Wolfpack – Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
7:30 pm EST – ESPNU
In the first of two Chick-Fil-A Classic games in as many days, the Tennessee Volunteers will play the NC State Wolfpack on the second day of the 2012 NCAA Football season at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley is on the hot seat after underperforming expectations since arriving in Knoxville in 2010. Dooley’s strongest attribute has come in recruiting, and Tennessee is hoping that recruiting will pay dividends in 2012, despite losing All-SEC receiver Da’Rick Rogers. Rogers was indefinitely suspended just over a week ago, due to admittedly failing drug tests, and quickly transferred to Tennessee Tech.
The Volunteers will be led by Tyler Bray, who completed 59.5% of his passes for 1983 yards and 17 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2011. Despite losing his top target (Rogers) from a year ago, Bray will still have Justin Hunter, who is expected to be one of the most productive receivers in the SEC this season. Last year Hunter was injured in Week 3 during the Florida Gators game and sat out the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Before the injury, Hunter had 314 yards on 17 catches, an average of 18.47 yards per catch.
Bray will be facing last year’s FBS interception leader, David Amerson, who hauled in 13 picks in 2011. Bray’s consistency will have to improve as Amerson will be hungry to lead the nation in interceptions once again.
Mike Glennon will return as the starting quarterback for the Wolfpack, after finishing third in the ACC in passing yards with 3054 in 2011. Glennon completed 62.5% of his passes while throwing for 31 touchdowns, second in the conference.
Glennon will face a Tennessee defense that returns eight starters and finished last season 27th in the country in total defense (340.5 ypg) and 12th in passing defense, holding opposing quarterbacks to 177.8 yards per game in the air.
Both teams have capable quarterbacks with above average talent, but are lacking in the ground game, based off of last year. The Wolfpack was ranked 11th in the ACC in rushing with an average of 104.85 yards per game, while the Volunteers at the bottom of the SEC in rushing offense averaging 90.08 yards per game.
With both defenses primed against the pass, the scoring in this matchup may be feast or famine.
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