KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Jeremy Pruitt, now 5-9 as Tennessee's head coach, will try for his first win of the 2019 season Saturday when his Tennessee team plays Chattanooga. It's the 41st meeting all time between the two programs and first since 2014. The FCS Mocs come to Knoxville sporting a 1-1 record with a win over Eastern Illinois and a loss to Jacksonville State. As was the case against Georgia State, the Vols are about a four touchdown favorite on their home field. To insure that outcome there are several keys I feel the young men in Orange and White will need to improve on during this matchup with UTC:
1. RED ZONE OFFENSE: As it turns out both the Vols and Mocs are at 50% scoring touchdowns inside their opponents 20 yard line. Having to settle for field goals is one of the reasons the Vols are 0-2 to start the season.
2. QUARTERBACK PLAY: Tennessee needs a more commanding effort from starting signal caller Jarrett Guarantano. His decision making four years into his tenure at the collegiate level is not as crisp as where it should be. Getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers at more efficient pace is crucial. Guarantano was rated as the number two dual threat QB in the nation coming out of high school. His ability to make things happen with his legs should be more of an option in Jim Chaney's offense.
3. VOLS D-LIVE VS. UTC: Tennessee has six sacks through two games, certainly a bright spot in an otherwise slow start for this team. The FCS Mocs have yet to give up a sack through two games. It will be interesting to see how UTC handles Derrick Ansley's 3-4 attack.
4. TURNOVERS: Against Georgia State in the opener, the Vols turned the football over three times and that number could have been worse. A Guarantano interception against BYU would directly lead to a Cougars touchdown. It's not just turnovers, but when they're happening that's causing UT problems allowing their opponents to either catch up or take outright control of the game. On the flip side, the Vols have only recovered one fumble and have yet to record an interception, something the head coach would desperately like to see change against the Mocs.
5. DESIRE: Where's the motivation coming for this weeks game? Is this team still united? Can they overcome the miscues and missed opportunities of the first two weeks and put forth an inspired effort? Freshman running back Eric Gray told us this week the team is on the verge of doing something special. Well, there's no time like the present for that to happen with the SEC schedule opening up next week at Florida.
Kickoff Saturday at Neyland Stadium against UTC is set for Noon. The SEC Network will have the broadcast.