KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee coach Butch Jones likes to say that football is a game of matchups, and the Vols will have a decided edge in talent over Ohio when the teams meet at noon Saturday in Neyland Stadium.
The Mid-American Conference Bobcats (1-1) will be playing their first game on grass since 2014 when they tangle with 15th-ranked Tennessee (2-0).
The Vols are looking to extend their winning streak to nine games and gain valuable momentum entering into next week’s pivotal matchup with SEC East Division rival Florida.
Here’s how Tennessee compares to Ohio, by position:
Ohio: Greg Windham, MAC East Offensive Player of the Week after la road win at Kansas. Windham is a dual-threat QB who is decisive with his throws. Windham has a strong arm.
Tennessee: Josh Dobbs accounted for five TDs in the Vols 45-24 win over Virginia Tech, rushing for more than 100 yards and passing for three scores. Dobbs has relied on 50-50 throws in the end zones.
Ohio: The Bobcats lead the MAC with 283 yards per game, and last week Windham (16 carries, 146 yards) and Dorian Brown (20-122) broke the century mark. Maleek Irons also had 39 yards on eight carries.
Tennessee: The Vols got a 106-yard rushing performance from Dobbs, who has been UT’s most explosive run threat this season. Jalen Hurd had 22 carries for 99 yards and continues to be the workhorse.
Ohio: Papi White is a dangerous weapon at receiver or in the backfield. Brendan Cope is an explosive option, and Jordan Reid has become a steady target.
Tennessee: Josh Malone has been explosive for the Vols, and Preston Williams has show the ability to get open. Freshman Tyler Byrd could emerge this week with Josh Smith nursing an ankle.
Ohio: Junior center Jake Pruehs has been a strength, and right guard Durrell Woods and right tackle Troy Watson are solid. All five linemen have experience.
Tennessee: The weakest unit on the team, left tackle Drew Richmond gave up two sacks in his last outing. Center Coleman Thomas looks to improve his play. UT will go at least six deep.
Ohio: Arguably the Bobcats’ strongest unit, led by the school’s all-time sacks leader, Tarrell Banham. Senior nose tackle Casey Sayles has the quickness to give UT trouble.
Tennessee: Tackles Kendal Vickers and Shy Tuttle have stepped up their performances, and ends Derek Barnett and Corey Vereen are due a big outing.
Ohio: Junior Quentin Polling is one of the MAC’s top middle linebackers and has shown a knack for making plays. WLB Blair Brown is a play-making senior who stuffs the run.
Tennessee: Jalen Reeves-Maybin has been a tackling machine, but this week Colton Jumper gets the start in the middle in place of injured starter Darrin Kirkland Jr.
Ohio: Safety Tauren Davis is the veteran of the group, but the Bobcats are otherwise raw on the back end. Mayne Williams appears to be the best of four brand-new cornerbacks.
Tennessee: Cam Sutton is one of the top cover cornerbacks in the SEC, and safety Micah Abernathy has been a ball magnet, recovering three fumbles in the win over Virginia Tech.
Ohio: Punter Michael Farkas has been solid and Louie Zervos has been 9-of-10 on field goal attempts. Papa White is a dangerous return man.
Tennessee:Trevor Daniel is averaging 45.8 yards per punt, and Aaron Medley has four touchbacks and is 3-of-4 on field goal attempts. Evan Berry is expected to play with a sore hamstring.