Tennessee was doing great until it faced top competition.
Then the Volunteers were toasted by a combined score of 90-31 against No. 2 Oregon and No. 19 Florida.
Fortunately for the Volunteers, they get to face South Alabama on Saturday in Knoxville. South Alabama is 2-1 this season, but has lost to FCS opponent Southern Utah and barely beat Tulane and Western Kentucky. It took a touchdown in the final two minutes against Western Kentucky for the Jaguars to emerge victorious in Mobile.
So, as Tennessee looks to get back on track in Week 5, here's a look at the matchup on Saturday.
*Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com
When: Saturday, Sept. 28 at 12:21 p.m. ET
Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Line (via Covers.com): Tennessee -19.5
South Alabama Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: DE Randon Carnathan (Achilles), DE Will Thompson (Ankle), G Melvin Meggs (Knee)
Tennessee Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: WR Devrin Young (Wrist), CB Riyahd Jones (Calf)
Questionable: DT Trevarris Saulsberry (Knee), S Michael L. Williams (Undisclosed), LB Curt Maggitt (Knee)
Top Storyline: Tennessee Offense Squarely in Justin Worley's Hands
Justin Worley started in Tennessee's first three games against Austin Peay, Western Kentucky and Oregon, but was benched in favor of Nathan Peterman against Florida.
Worley's season thus far has been rocky. He's tossed six touchdowns to three interceptions, but he's completed only 56 percent of his passes while averaging 6.5 yards per pass attempt. That includes going a combined 23-of-48 for 275 yards while tossing two touchdowns to two interceptions against Oregon and Florida.
Then again, South Alabama ranks 78th in the nation in points allowed per game, 56th in yards per pass attempt allowed and 89th in passing touchdowns ceded. You would think Worley would have more success against the Jaguars in Knoxville.
Prediction: Tennessee 38, South Alabama 17
This figures to be a much-needed confidence-builder for Tennessee as the Volunteers look ahead to formidable SEC opponents Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.
Tennessee has proven it can put up points against the lesser defenses in the nation, while also proving it can limit the weaker offenses in the country. South Alabama falls under both categories.
Add the fact that the Volunteers are playing at home and you have yourself some home cookin' in Knoxville. The only way the Volunteers could botch this is if they are completely careless with the ball, and I don't think Butch Jones is going to put the ball in Worley's hands all that much.
Look for Tennessee to capture its third win of the season before running the gauntlet in its following three games.