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Utah State Game Preview
Posted: Wednesday, August 27th, 2014, 1:19 PM
by Josh
After a very long off season of enthusiasm for the new recruiting class, of media people in town brainwashing everyone into thinking Tennessee will be lucky to win 5 games because they are so obsessed with keeping expectations off of Butch Jones, and of hearing how awesome Chuckie Keeton and Utah State are, IT'S FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!

I don't think I have been this excited going into a season since probably the Kiffin year. Tennessee has had a huge influx of young and very talented players. I went to the open practice a while back and the main thing that stood out to me was how athletic and talented the freshmen are. Jalen Hurd looks like big fish in a little pond. That guy is huge. But he also has incredible speed. He will be a force to be reckoned with for the next 3 years as long as he stays healthy. Josh Malone and Von Pearson both looked really good from what I saw and we all know what Marquez North can do. The defense is much faster this year, but also much younger. The offensive line has talent and will get better as the season goes along. Justin Worley is a confident quarterback and a pretty good decision maker. I do have concerns about his arm strength but I think he can put Tennessee in good situations more often than not. With all that said, let's talk about game one.

All we have heard all summer is how good Utah State has been the past few years and how special Chuckie Keeton is. Both claims are true, but the level of hype surrounding this team has been a bit absurd. Listening to some media people, you would think that Florida State was coming to Knoxville Sunday night. The truth about Utah State is that they lost a ton of people from their team last year. Their top receivers are gone. They replace a ton from their offensive and defensive lines, just like Tennessee. The difference is, they are replacing them with much lower rated players than Tennessee will be using. They have a very young and unproven secondary and I'm sure Justin Worley and that stable of receivers are licking their chops. They do have a decent linebacker unit and Chuckie Keeton is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. But he can't do it all himself.

I see the game going like this. Tennessee may start a little slow as they feel out Utah State and as they get a feel for how their team will gel as well. Utah State will take advantage early and score a few times. Tennessee will get its footing and the talent advantage and depth will take over for the Vols. I think by halftime Tennessee will start to take control of the game and I think they pull away in the second half. The Vols will be too jacked up for an upset. It's the first game of the year on a Sunday night as the only game on. The nation will be watching and the crowd will be rabid. The last I heard it was a near sellout and it will probably be sold out by game time. Neyland Stadium will be rocking as Vol fans are hungry for something to cheer about and eager to see these new players.

I think Jalen Hurd will make an immediate impact and have a big game. I think the receivers will run wild as long as Worley has time to throw. I think that Tennessee's newer, faster defense will hold Keeton in check after they get their feet wet a bit. I also expect a few turnovers on both sides. It is a first game and both teams may have to shake off some rust. I think Tennessee's defense will force a few turnovers with their stipping and that is what will lead to this game getting out of hand. Don't expect many interceptions by Tennessee. Chuckie Keeton rarely throws picks.

In the end, the Vols will put the cherry on top of a festive kickoff weekend and send fans home happy.

Tennessee 45
Utah State 24

In other games...

South Carolina 31
Texas A&M 27

Alabama 41
West Virginia 13

Florida State 52
Oklahoma State 24

Georgia 24
Clemson 20

LSU 31
Wisconsin 20

The way opening weekend is going down this year is the way it should be every year. I agree with Tony. This should be Tennessee's new tradition. Boomsday on Saturday, nationally televised game on Sunday, Labor Day on Monday. It was a great way to start the season 10 years ago and it will be awesome again this year. Labor Day has always been a big deal in Knoxville with Boomsday. How special would it be for every season to open like this one, and the one in 2004? A 3 day celebration of life, labor, football and fall. I can't think of any better way for fall to begin every year in East Tennessee.

I really appreciate those who took the time to read this. I am glad that I can be a part of your day and your overall experience of getting ready for Tennessee football. For those who want, you can follow me on Twitter @Joshes_Blog. The wait is almost over. Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend everyone. Go Vols and God Bless!

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