JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WVLT -- It's a new year for the Tennessee Volunteers, but the hope for Thursday's TaxSlayer Gator Bowl is to get a win to finish out the 2019 season strong.
Tennessee plays Indiana in the 75th edition of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. | Credit: WVLT
A bowl win would be the first for Pruitt as a head coach.
Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee will have to contend with a high-powered offense, led by quarterback Peyton Ramsey to get the bowl win. Ramsey has thrown for 13 touchdowns and only for interceptions on the season, with 2227 yards passing. That total includes two games with more than 300 yards passing. Tennessee defense will have to watch out for Ramsey's big arm, while containing the run game at the same time.
Another key for Tennessee won't come in the first half, but the second half, when senior wide receiver Jauan Jennings comes into the game. Jennings is serving a first half suspension, handed down from SEC officials, after an incident at Tennessee's last regular season game against Vanderbilt. While Jennings will only play a half, he could come in at a time when the Vols need him most.
Focus will be another key to a bowl victory for Tennessee. While the Vols have high hopes moving forward under Pruitt, the focus needs to be on Thursday's game against the Hoosiers. All eyes will be on Tennessee Thursday to see how the Vols finish out after winning five straight to end the regular season.
Run the ball, run the ball, run the ball. While Jarrett Guarantano has the ability to throw for a few touchdowns, running backs like Ty Chandler, Tim Jordan and Eric Gray will have to get their feet moving with a push from the offensive line to ensure Tennessee doesn't look one dimensional in the offensive game.
If both the offense and defense can play a solid game against an Indiana program that does not have much experience in the post season, a Vol victory to begin 2020 is on the horizon at Jacksonville's TIAA Bank Field at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.