KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee players and coaches insist they are going to turn the season around. It has to start this Saturday at Kentucky
The Vols (3-4, 0-4 SEC) play the Wildcats (5-2, 2-2 SEC) at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday in Lexington.
Kentucky is a 5.5-point favorite over Tennessee and looking for its first win over the Vols since 2011. Tennessee has won each of the last five games in the series by double digits.
SEC Country reporters Mike Griffith and Blake Morgan follow Tennessee football daily, and they have opinions on who the key players for the Vols will be at Kentucky.
Tennessee looks to break a streak of 14 consecutive quarters without an offense touchdown.
Here are three key players for the Vols in the game at Kentucky:
1. Jarrett Guarantano
It’s Jarrett Guarantano’s third career start and second on the road. He’ll need to show improvement if the Vols are to beat Kentucky. Guarantano has predicted a “magical” finish to the season, but offensive coordinator Larry Scott said he just wants the redshirt freshman from New Jersey to focus on one day at a time.
Guarantano has completed 55.2 percent of his passes in the five games he has played in, good for 231 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
2. Ty Chandler
The true freshman from Brentwood Academy in Nashville is being pressed into action on account of the one-game suspension that incumbent John Kelly will be serving for the Kentucky game on Saturday night.
Kelly, who has accounted for 43 percent of Tennessee’s yards from scrimmage, was pulled over in a car with a headlight out on Tuesday night and subsequently cited for misdemeanor drug possession.
Chandler has shown great speed this season, returning a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown against Indiana State, and then breaking off a 30-yard run against South Carolina two weeks ago.
3. Rashaan Gaulden
Gaulden has been Tennessee’s defensive MVP from his nickelback position this season. The junior from Spring Hill, Tenn., wants to be known more for his football highlights that his flippant behavior in the Alabama end zone last Saturday after Daniel Bituli’s 97-yard interception return for a touchdown.