KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After the way Tennessee’s season ended, plenty of people are curious about the team’s motivation for the Music City Bowl against Nebraska.
The Vols closed out their regular season with a dispiriting loss at Vanderbilt, costing them a likely Sugar Bowl berth in New Orleans.
Two weeks earlier, Florida clinched a spot in the SEC Championship, as Tennessee’s bad loss at South Carolina finally caught up.
Add it all up, and after starting the season 5-0 and ranked inside the Top 10, the Vols weren’t supposed to be staying close to home for the holiday’s.
But they are, veteran safety Todd Kelly Jr. the team will be ready to prepared to play on Dec. 30 (3:30 p.m., ESPN).
“A lot of people had high hopes about what bowl game we were going to attend this year,” Kelly said Friday.
“But at the end of the day, I know my teammates just want to play one more game of football. If that means it’s in Buffalo, New York for all we care. That’s 60 minutes more of football. So we’re going to Nashville on Dec. 30. No matter who is on the field and who is on the bench, we’re all in.”
He added, “It’s about wanting to be there, and I think our team really wants to be in this bowl game.”
Tennessee is slowly implementing the gameplan for Nebraska, and while the players don’t know much about the history of the program, they’re aware of the Cornhuskers success in 2016.
Although Nebraska may be missing several integral pieces with quarterback Tommy Armstrong questionable and receiver Jordan Westerkamp out with a knee injury, Kelly expects a tough fight either way.
“We’re excited to play Nebraska. They’re a great team. 9-3 team coming into it, a Top 25 team. We have to bring our A-game, “ he said.
“No matter who is going to be out there for them they play Nebraska Cornhusker football. They strive themselves on physicality and going hard every play. We know that, so we’re going to have to bring our A-game.”
Tennessee safety Todd Kelly Jr. talks Music City Bowl, Nebraska
Posted by Tennessee Volunteers Insiders on Friday, December 16, 2016