The Vanderbilt Commodores (2-8, 1-6 SEC) will be looking for the upset as the Tennessee Volunteers (4-6, 1-6 SEC) come to Nashville on Saturday.

The history of these intrastate rivals can easily be described as a lopsided affair, with the Vols holding a commanding edge in the overall record, winning 71 of the 103 matchups. These numbers include a 22-game winning streak that was snapped in 2005. Since 1998, the Vols have won 12 out of the last 13 games by a margin of 21.9 points.

In last week’s game, the Commodores lost a heartbreaker to Kentucky 38-20. The final score might suggest to some that the game was not that close, but Vanderbilt was outscored 24-7 in the second half.

A problem for the Commodores last week was the lapse of concentration in key situations, which often resulted in big plays for the Wildcats. On four of its plays, Kentucky’s offense gained 263 yards — including a 73-yard run by do-everything player, Randall Cobb — nearly half of its total production for the game.

“We just didn’t tackle (Cobb) well,” linebacker John Stokes said. “I think that’s the bottom line. We had a good plan. We had people there. But without seeing the film, I just don’t know.”

While the Commodores’ defense had issues last week, the offense has fought through a long list of injuries to perform at an adequate level. One such example of this is running back Kennard Reeves, who has been filling in for injured starter Warren Norman. In last week’s game, Reeves rushed for 105 yards, but probably his best contribution came when he did not have the ball in his hands.

“The most impressive thing, everybody saw him run, but they didn’t see him block,” Caldwell said. “He did a great job blocking, particularly in that late scoring drive. He had to take on that big defensive end in several situations and had a great collision with him.”

Against Tennessee, Reeves will have to have another big day to help open up the passing game for quarterback Larry Smith, who is currently completing less than 50 percent of his passes with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 3-2.

On defense, Vanderbilt will look to slow down a Tennessee offense that, as of late, has been lighting up the scoreboard.

“I’ve been impressed with their energy and how they run the football,” Caldwell said. “The change at quarterback really has them going, it appears. (Tyler) Bray threw the ball all over the field last week and did a great job. I think they scored 50 points.”

Vanderbilt enters the UT game with nothing to lose; it has no bowl bid on the line, no possible spot in a conference championship game. But instead, the Commodores will play Saturday’s game solely for respect and to close out their season with a two-fold victory: beating Tennessee and keeping the Vols out of the postseason.

Caldwell realized that this game will not save the season, but he did look forward to the gains that could be made from victory.

“I don’t know about salvaging the season, but it sure would be a great feeling and bring great pride,” Caldwell said. “It would be a sense of pride for us just to win.”

Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. on CSS.