Utah State vs. Tennessee Complete Game Preview

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Utah State vs. Tennessee Complete Game Preview
USA TODAY Sports

As far as tests go, Sunday's season-opening tilt with Utah State is ideal for a Tennessee Volunteers team filled with newcomers.

Though scheduling a mid-major game against the upstart Aggies and dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidate Chuckie Keeton could be considered a "no-win" situation for the Vols, it's actually just the opposite.

This game is exactly what UT needs.

It's enough of a test to where the Vols can't sleepwalk. A victory can give a growing team confidence heading into a grueling, season-long gauntlet.

Also, with Oklahoma and Georgia on the September schedule, lining up against a potentially dynamic offense will help UT prepare more than it would against a pair of cupcakes.

Keeton and his teammates may see the game as a showcase on a national stage that would help put USU on the map. But it's also a coming-out party for a group of Vols intent on erasing a miserable recent stretch of football.

"The one thing about football is it's not what they do, it's what you do," A.J. Johnson told UTSports.com's Brian Rice. "We have to come out focused and worried about us and getting the job done."

With that much inexperience thrust into key roles, UT has plenty of concerns. But there's palpable excitement, too. The practice pads are about to come off. It's finally game week.

 

Date: Sunday, Aug. 31

Time: 7 p.m. ET

Place: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee

TV: SEC Network

Radio: Vol Network, NewsTalk, Sirius/XM 91

Spread: Tennessee by 6.5 points, according to OddsShark.com.

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