Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT)— Tennessee wraps up its regular-season schedule on Saturday with an in-state showdown at SEC East rival Vanderbilt in what will be a battle for bowl eligibility. Kickoff for Saturday's game at Vanderbilt Stadium is set for 4 p.m. ET on the SEC Network. The game can also be streamed live on WatchESPN.com.
Saturday's contest will have a little extra on the line as both teams enter the game with identical 5-6 records, one win away from securing a bowl bid. This will be the 112th meeting all time between the Volunteers and Commodores, which is the second-most played series in UT history, trailing only Kentucky (114 meetings). Tennessee boasts a 75-31-5 record all time in the series, including a 37-19-4 mark in Nashville. The Big Orange won 22 consecutive games between the two programs from 1983 to 2004 but have dropped the past two meetings and four of the past six.
Vanderbilt comes into Saturday's game playing some of its best football of the season with two wins in its last three games, including a 36-29 overtime victory over Ole Miss last weekend. The Commodores, led by fifth-year head coach Derek Mason, rely on an experienced offense as well as an opportunistic defense.
On the offensive side of the ball, Vandy features a balanced attack that relies heavily on senior quarterback Kyle Shurmur and redshirt junior running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn. Shurmur is in his third year as the full-time starter and has been one of the most productive passers in the SEC this season, ranking third in the league with 20 touchdown passes and fifth with 2,477 passing yards. His favorite target is junior wideout Kalija Lipscomb, whose 73 receptions and nine touchdown catches rank second in the conference. Redshirt junior tight end Jared Pinkney has also been a key weapon in the Commodores' offense with 41 catches for 658 yards and six touchdowns.
Vaughn has been a workhorse on the ground for VU with 138 carries for 976 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. A transfer from Illinois, Vaughn's 97.6 rushing yards per game ranks third in the SEC and 25th nationally.
The Dores have struggled defensively this season as they enter Saturday's game ranked 13th in the conference in total defense (436.0 ypg). However, they have proven to be an opportunistic unit, forcing 20 takeaways this season, which ranks third in the league and 23rd nationally.