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Vols facing critical game at Arkansas

Possible season turning point for Tennessee in Fayetteville
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt yells at the officials during the first half of an NCAA...
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt yells at the officials during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.(WYMT)
Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 10:55 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2020 at 5:18 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee has a history of success following its open dates under head coach Jeremy Pruitt The Vols are 2-1 following bye weeks since 2018, including a road upset at No. 21 Auburn in Pruitt’s first season. UT fell to No. 4 Georgia after its first open week last season, but defeated Missouri on the road following its second bye week of the year on its way to six consecutive wins to close out the season. The Vols will need a similar push this year in order to finish with a winning record.

Tennessee holds a 13-5 advantage in the all-time series, including a 5-3 record on the road. However, the Vols will be looking to end a two-game losing streak to the Razorbacks and pick up their first victory in the series since a 34-13 win in Knoxville back in 2007. This will be the first meeting between the two programs since a 24-20 victory for Arkansas in 2015.

Under the direction of first-year head coach Sam Pittman, the Razorbacks have exceeded expectations so far this season despite entering Saturday’s contest with a 2-3 record. Following a season-opening loss to Georgia, the Hogs defeated then, No. 16 ranked Mississippi State on the road to snap a 20-game SEC losing streak. Arkansas has also beaten Ole Miss (33-21) and nearly upset No. 13 Auburn on the road, as well. The Razorbacks' offense is led by redshirt senior quarterback Feleipe Franks. The Florida transfer has completed 66.0% of his passes for 1,213 yards, 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Franks has a deep group of wide receivers to throw to, led by sophomore Treylon Burks, who has 29 receptions for 366 yards and four touchdowns. The 1-2 punch of Trelon Smith and Rakeem Boyd lead the Hogs' ground attack. Smith leads the team with 251 rushing yards and also ranks fourth in receiving yards (114) while Boyd has rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Arkansas' defense has been extremely opportunistic this season, forcing and SEC best 13 turnovers through five games.

The Razorbacks also lead the conference and rank 11th nationally in turnover margin (1.20). Redshirt freshman defensive back Hudson Clark leads the SEC with three interceptions while Greg Brooks Jr. and Joe Foucha aren’t far behind with two each. Redshirt senior linebacker Grant Morgan leads the team with 58 tackles and five tackles for loss. Junior linebacker Bumper Pool ranks second on the squad with 50 tackles and four tackles for loss.

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