KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – One loss does not a season make except, perhaps, for the University of Tennessee, which is coming off what many observers termed the worst defeat in program history. The Volunteers must try to pick up the pieces and rebound from a stunning season-opening setback to Georgia State when they host Brigham Young on Saturday night in another non-conference matchup.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Tennessee -3.5.
Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano admitted he was "disgusted" following the 38-30 shocker - a deceptive result given that the Volunteers scored a last-second touchdown - but one teammate is already looking ahead. "I didn't sign up for a one-game fight. This is a 12-game fight," wide receiver Jauan Jennings said. "This is what we are going to do each and every week from here on out. That's all we got to do is prepare and focus on one game at a time." BYU also is coming off a season-opening loss at home, wilting in the second half to drop a 30-12 decision to rival and No. 15-ranked Utah. The Cougars are trying to navigate a brutal early-season schedule in which they are the only team in the country to open with four straight games against teams from Power Five conferences.
ABOUT BYU (0-1)
Mistakes were the undoing for the Cougars in the opener as sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson rushed for 43 yards while notching career highs in passing attempts (33) and completions (21) in throwing for 208 yards, but he also had a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns. "Obviously, Zach Wilson made some mistakes and he'd like to take some of them back," BYU coach Kalani Sitake. "I want him to stay aggressive and I believe in him and we'll just keep working." Ty'Son Williams, who had a team-high 45 yards rushing on only seven carries, also lost a fumble that led to a touchdown, while Brigham Young's defense had trouble stopping the run and allowed 262 yards on the ground.
ABOUT TENNESSEE (0-1)
Guarantano recorded the second 300-yard game of his career, finishing with 311 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and his top target was Jennings, who had 108 yards and a score on a career-high seven receptions. Although Ty Chandler had a 31-yard touchdown run, Tennessee managed only 93 yards rushing while allowing Georgia State to amass 213 yards on the ground and convert 10 of 17 on third down. "Defensively, it would be hard for me to point out anything that we really did well," coach Jeremy Pruitt said. "I think there were a couple of guys that probably played hard in the game, but there's more to being a good defensive player than just playing hard."
1. Tennessee LB Henry To'o is the first true freshman to lead the team in tackles (seven) in a season opener since 1996.
2. BYU TE Matt Bushman led the team with six catches for 62 yards in the opener.
3. The schools, who have combined for 1,413 wins, will be meeting for the first time.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 23, BYU 20