Indiana State Game Preview
Posted: 9-7-2017, 1:35:47 PM
The Georgia Tech game felt really familiar didn't it? It felt a lot like the Appalachian State, Virginia Tech, Florida, Georgia and almost the Texas A&M games from last year. For over three quarters, it reminded me of the curb stomping Nebraska gave Tennessee in the 1998 Orange Bowl. This is a bizarre patter that we are in under Butch Jones. These insane comeback wins have to be more than just coincidence. They are happening too often. We got our first taste in 2013 against South Carolina. The 2014 game against South Carolina really started the trend in Josh Dobbs' breakout game. In 2015 the Vols had another unlikely comeback against Georgia. And of course we all know we had to come from behind in four of the first five games to win last year.

I will say this for Butch Jones, you can never count his team out. I see there being three possibilities to explain the comebacks.

1. Butch Jones has instilled a never give up attitude in his program and the team never stops fighting.

2. Butch Jones has a very conservative game plan most of the time and when Tennessee falls behind he finally opens up the playbook and the players rise to the occasion.

3. The coaching decisions of Butch Jones and his staff put Tennessee in a hole and eventually Tennessee's talent overcomes the incompetence.

Either way, I can't criticize too much because few leads are safe against Tennessee.

The game itself was hard to watch. The first three series on defense, Tennessee shut down Georgia Tech's option attack. And then the flood gates opened and Tennessee gave up more rushing yards than it ever had in history. I don't know what Bob Shoop is doing but you can't win championships playing defense like that. As much as football has changed, one thing remains the same. Defense wins championships. Sadly, Tennessee hasn't had a championship level defense since 2008, when they had a SunBelt level offense.

After a slow start on offense, Tennessee showed flashes of having a potent attack. Dormady struggled early. He was relying too much on Jennings and that ultimately led to his injury. He didn't get a lot of help from either as there were a lot of dropped passes. John Kelly was under utilized in the first half and lack of commitment to the run game early lead to a huge gap in time of possession. In the second half, Dormady showed off his arm and made some pin point passes that I have to admit, Dobbs would have never made. Calloway emerged as a big time play maker in the absence of Jennings and Wolf made some nice plays as well. John Kelly showed me what I've know for three seasons now. He is a very aggressive runner and one of the best backs in the SEC. If Tennessee can *gasp*, run the ball to set up the pass then they will be a very hard offense to defend. My only concern is that Dormady begins to hone in on Calloway every time he is in trouble like he did early with Jennings. There are other capable receivers on the team and it would be wise to spread the ball around.

Evan Berry is the best kick returner in my memory of watching Tennessee. If any opposing team kicks to him the rest of the year, they should probably rethink their profession.

As far as Indiana State goes, what is there to say about them? They were 4-7 last year. The only major team they played was Minnesota. A game they lost 58-28. They opened this season with a 22-20 loss to Eastern Illinois. Their running back, LeMonte Booker, ran for 154 yards and a touchdown. They played two quarterbacks who combined for 133 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Does that really tell you anything? They put up a total of 293 yards against an average at best FCS team. If Tennessee's defense gives up more than 250 to this team then there is no reason to retain Bob Shoop. Turn the defense over to Brady Hoke and give the season a chance to succeed.

On offense I would imagine that Dormady, Kelly and Calloway will put this game out of reach by halftime. I would expect to see a heavy dose of Guarantano, Chandler, Byrd and Palmer in the second half. Tennessee probably won't show Florida a whole lot and will likely only run a handful of plays. Tennessee cruises in this one.

Tennessee 65
Indiana State 24

In other games....

Notre Dame 29
Georgia 27

Brian Kelly outcoaches Kirby Smart and overcomes the talent gap with a good game plan.

Ohio State 38
Oklahoma 33

Oklahoma fights hard with Lincoln Riley but Meyer refuses to lose at home.

Clemson 27
Auburn 24

Auburn comes up just short in a thriller.

Stanford 34
USC 31

USC's playoff dreams take a big hit in the upset as Stanford plays inspired.

TCU 41
Arkansas 31

TCU sets the table for a nice year with a win against the Hogs.

South Carolina 42
Missouri 38

The Gamecocks win on the road as Missouri's defense does their best Bob Shoop impersonation.

Overall Record...(6-1)

That's all I have this week. As always, I appreciate all of you who take the time to read this. If you or any of your loved ones are in the path of Hurricane Irma then I hope you all get to safety. Don't take chances with this monster.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @Joshes_Blog
I usually follow back.

Have a safe weekend everyone. If you are heading to the Tennessee Valley Fair, have fun. Go Vols and God Bless!

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