BYU Vs. Tennessee: Three Matchups To Watch

Sep 7, 2019, 3:12 AM | Updated: 3:15 am
Photo: Courtesy of Mitch Harper,
Photo: Courtesy of Mitch Harper,

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – BYU and Tennessee are two teams looking to establish an identity and come away with a big victory later this evening.

Both teams come into today’s game 0-1 after disappointing losses to open up the 2019 season.

What will be some of the key matchups to watch in this critical game?

Let’s take a look at three you should know heading into kickoff.

BYU Offensive Line vs. Tennessee Defensive Line

The strengths of most teams from the SEC are in the trenches. For Tennessee, that’s not the case. The biggest question marks at the moment for the Vols are their lines, especially on the defensive side.

BYU’s offensive line allowed only one sack against a Utah defensive line that is considered to be one of the best in the nation a week ago.

If BYU can keep in check Tennessee interior lineman and Michigan transfer Aubrey Solomon, the Cougars should be able to protect Zach Wilson and open up sizable holes for running back Ty’Son Williams.

How will BYU’s wide receivers attack the Vols secondary?

One of Tennessee’s cornerback spots is currently listed with an OR as Warren Burrell and Shawn Shamburger haven’t nailed down the starting spot at cornerback for the Vols.

Will some of BYU’s wide receivers step up and be able to find success against the Vol secondary?

In BYU’s loss to Utah, the Utes shut down tight end Matt Bushman and it led to the Cougar offense being a non-factor the rest of the game. Saturday night is the stage for seniors Talon Shumway, Micah Simon, and Aleva Hifo to make some big plays.

Can BYU’s defense make Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano inefficient?

Ask anyone around Knoxville that’s a Vol supporter and they will tell you they are not sold on redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. Some around town have said they haven’t seen Guarantano take command of Tennessee’s offense. Volunteers head coach Jeremy Pruitt believes Guarantano can be efficient as Tennessee’s quarterback. BYU’s defense will look to cause havoc for UT’s signal-caller who threw for over 300 yards in the loss to Georgia State.

BYU’s pass rush last week featured a lot of three down linemen. Would not be surprised if BYU reverts back to more of a traditional four-down lineman look that they have primarily had during the Kalani Sitake era.

It starts with Khyiris Tonga who was featured as a five-tech defensive end a week ago. Watch for Tonga to see more time tonight back in the interior of the defensive line as he looks to cause havoc for Guarantano and the Vols offense.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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