In preparation for Saturday's game in Neyland Stadium, the Troy Trojans know they must put last week's loss to Florida Atlantic behind them.
Trojans head Coach Larry Blakeney said that his team needs to move on and focus on Tennessee.
"We'll try to control them in all three phases and we'll have a plan to win," said Blakeney. "It's not a plan to look good losing close."
Troy has had their fair share of close games with six of their eight games being decided by 10 points or less. They are capable of moving the ball on offense. Their passing attack was led by senior quarterback Corey Robinson, who is averaging just under 300 yards per game.
With over 1,800 yards passing and eight touchdowns on the year, Robinson is capable of hurting the Tennessee secondary that has been struggling this season. The senior said that he was excited to get back to Tennessee and play in Neyland Stadium.
"That was my childhood dream, ... playing at Tennessee," said Robinson. "So it's gonna be exciting for me from a personal standpoint."
The Trojans are also capable of running the ball. They are averaging 167.3 yards per game and their top rusher, junior Shawn Southward, is averaging over five yards per carry. The 6-foot-1 junior has 692 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He is a big running back at 269 pounds and can pound the ball up the middle.
The key for Troy is to get a good start. The first quarter has been their toughest quarter as they have been outscored 80-51. If Troy can get out to a good start and not fall behind, the Trojans will present a challenge to the Vols.
Defensively, the Trojans have struggled this season. They are giving up 26.9 points per game and will have to play even better than that against the potent offense of Tennessee. Coach Blakeney said that they will have to contain the playmakers on the Tennessee offense and try to control the kicking game.
"We'll have to find a way to attack them and find a way to defend them, and we cannot kick it to either one of those guys," said Blakeney.
Troy will be keying in on the wide receiver duo of Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, most likely, since they are a threat to going the length of the field any time they touch the ball. Look for Troy to try and kick the ball away from him as much as possible.
Junior defensive back Chris Pickett says the team is focused and that they are a tightly knit group even after a loss. He is confident that the team is moving in the right direction and that they can present a challenge to Tennessee.
"You can't go into a game like this expecting just to have a good showing," said Pickett. "We have to go into a game like this expecting to get a win."