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November 30, 2013
The Cheat Sheet
Saturday night in the cold Commonwealth of Kentucky, Tennessee seeks elusive win number 5 with no bowl hopes leaving many to wonder where the Vols motivation will come from. We take a look at four keys to the Vols ending 2013 on the right step in our weekly Cheat Sheet.
1. Desire - It may sound simple but it's also Jones' biggest challenge for his team. At 4-7, what does Tennessee have to play for? Jones has spent the week selling his team going 1-0 to start the off-season. Will that pitch work? Will the Vols be ready to play? It's the question that no one will know the answer to till Saturday night.
2. Run the football - Tennessee rushed for 164 yards a year ago, but in 2011 they only rushed for 61 yards and in 2010 it was 76. Kentucky is giving up 195.5 yards a game on the ground. Tennessee rushed for 184 yards against Vanderbilt, and 226 yards against Auburn. On the season, the Vols have rushed for 2,043 yards and to get win number five Tennessee must win the ground game Saturday night in the Commonwealth.
3. Tackle Whitlow - Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow leads the Wildcats in rushing with 601 yards. Stopping a running quarterback has been a huge problem all season long for the Vols. Quarterbacks have rushed for 714 yards on 98 carries against the Vols. They are averaging 7.3 yards a carry. With Kentucky's starting running back Raymond Sanders out for Saturday's game, the Vols should expect Whitlow's workload to be even higher. Tennessee must contain the sophomore from Alabama provided he's healthy enough to play the game. Whitlow has practiced all week but is battling neck spasms and a very tender shoulder.
4. Make a play - It's hard to imagine that this offense suddenly becomes an explosive attack. A week ago, the Vols had one offensive play of over 20 yards and that game on the Vols final desperation drive. On the year, Tennessee has just 22 plays of over 25 yards in 738 snaps. That's one "explosive" snap ever 33.5 plays. The lack of explosive plays makes it very difficult on the offense. Throw in last weeks 2 interceptions and you have to wonder how much confidence the offense has in their ability to make a play.