KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee’s offense roared to life last week in a victory over South Carolina as the Volunteers used multiple quarterbacks, and the same approach likely will be employed in Saturday’s home contest against UAB. Brian Maurer will return to practice after missing last week’s 41-21 win with a concussion, while Jarrett Guarantano passed for 229 yards before suffering a broken bone in his non-throwing hand and J.T. Shrout added 122 yards passing.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: Tennessee -11.5
Guarantano underwent surgery on his hand but is expected to be ready by Saturday for Tennessee, which topped 30 points for just the second time in eight games this season. “That’s the Jarrett that I had seen in practice most of the year,” Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt told reporters Monday about Guarantano, who completed 11-of-19 passes and threw for two touchdowns. The Blazers are one game behind Louisiana Tech in the Conference USA West Division and have won three in a row for the second time this season following a 38-14 victory over Old Dominion on Oct. 19. UAB ranks fifth in FBS in total defense (248.6 yards allowed per game) and has yet to surrender more than 20 points in a game this season.
ABOUT UAB (6-1)
The Blazers are bowl eligible for the third consecutive season and their defense is a big reason why, ranking second in the country in fumble recoveries (12), eighth in rushing defense (88.3 yards per game) and 11th in scoring defense (15.7 points per game). Junior linebacker Kristopher Moll ranks second in Conference USA with nine tackles per game and also has recorded 4 1/2 sacks. Junior receiver Austin Watkins Jr. topped 100 yards receiving in each of the past two games, while sophomore quarterback Tyler Johnston III has passed for seven touchdowns in the past three contests.
ABOUT TENNESSEE (3-5)
Senior receiver Jauan Jennings started at quarterback against South Carolina, rushing five times for 18 yards, and finished with a career-best 174 yards on seven receptions with two touchdowns - including a 19-yard score in the third quarter to put the Volunteers ahead to stay. Senior receiver Marquez Callaway leads the SEC and is fifth nationally in yards per reception (22) after catching three passes for 102 yards and a score last week. Senior linebacker Daniel Bituli registered a career-best 15 tackles last week, and recovered a punt he blocked for a touchdown in the second half.
1. Tennessee junior K Brent Cimaglia is 15-for-17 on field goals and 21-for-21 on extra points, and his 66 points scored ranks tied for second in the SEC.
2. Johnston has passed for 26 career touchdowns, one away from moving into a tie for fourth place on the school’s all-time list.
3. The Volunteers lead the SEC and rank second nationally in punt return average at 23 yards per attempt.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 34, UAB 14