Two successful offensive programs meet in Nashville as Tennessee and Purdue vie for the Music City Bowl trophy. The Vols turned quickly under first-year head coach Josh Heupel, reaching 7-5 thanks to a well-placed victory over the then number one. Kentucky 18.
Purdue took on the role of a giant killer after beating the 15th Iowa and 10th Michigan State – both ranked in the top five at the time – to derail potential playoff cases. The Boilermakers have won four of their last five games – the only loss came to the No.6 Ohio State – by 71 combined points to reach eight wins for the first time since 2007. A win would send Purdue to nine wins for the first since former coach Joe Tiller’s team in 2004.
These two teams have only played once, with Purdue beating Tennessee 27-22 in 1979. Purdue will be without star receiver David Bell and defensive end George Karlaftis, both declared for the 2022 NFL Draft. . Tennessee cornerback Alontae Taylor will be skipping the game while recovering ahead of the NFL Draft.
Tennessee vs. Purdue: need to know
Air attacks: Purdue and Tennessee both have one of the most underrated flaggers in the country. UT’s Hendon Hooker threw for 2,567 yards and 26 touchdowns after taking over from Joe Milton. Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell completed 73.5% of his passes for 3,178 yards, 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions in an outstanding season. Fortunately, O’Connell and Hooker will return for another year in 2022.
Force on force: While Vols are known for their long shots, they’ve actually been surprisingly consistent with the ball. Tennessee ranks No.4 nationally in rushing success rate, good enough for 4.9 yards per carry and four backers at 5.2 yards per carry or better. However, Purdue also ranked No. 24 in defensive rushing success rate and allowed 4.2 yards per carry. The trenches could make all the difference.
Boom or bust: When Purdue shows up, he’s a surprising force in the college football world. The Boilermakers beat Iowa and Michigan State by 30 combined points over the course of a month, but then lost by 17 to a struggling Wisconsin and one touchdown to Minnesota. The gap between expected performance and actual performance has been full of wild swings, with Tennessee surprisingly being the most consistent team. If the wrong Purdue presents itself, the Boilermakers could quickly create a crater.
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Music City Bowl prediction, pick
Featured Game | Purdue Boilermakers vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Purdue relied on star playmakers Bell and Karlaftis to play major roles on either side of the ball. The two are not expected to play, the consistency and depth of Tennessee’s roster will be fully on display. In a game with so many potential points, a 4.5 point line is perfectly manageable. Prediction: Tennessee (-4.5)
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