TransPerfect Music City Bowl Purdue vs Tennessee

TransPerfect Music City Bowl
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TransPerfect Music City Bowl, Purdue vs Tennessee

It appears the Music City bowl, much like most of the bowls this season, will be a battle of attrition.  The Volunteers seem to be winning that battle, at the moment.  Although as has been seen in the last week, things can change in hours due to Covid protocols.  Between Covid, injuries, and opt-outs, teams can look very different in bowl season.  That will likely be the case in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl, as Purdue takes on Tennessee.

The Music City Bowl’s financial payout for participating teams is $6.2 million. That ranks sixth among the 36 bowls outside of the College Football Playoffs.  Clearly, both teams have ample motivation to play this game.

Purdue

Purdue has been dealt another blow heading into the Music City Bowl against Tennessee. The Boilermakers were already going to be without their two best players, wide receiver David Bell and defensive end George Karlaftis. Furthermore, add two or three more to that list.

Wide receiver Milton Wright and cornerback Dedrick Mackey are not in Nashville with the team. Starting left tackle Greg Long is with the team but is doubtful to play.

Wright was the second leading receiver on the team behind Bell, with 57 receptions for 732 yards and seven touchdowns. Mackey had three picks and 36 tackles on the year.

The Boilermakers are No. 30 nationally in interceptions total this year with 13, and they are No. 25 in interceptions per game.  On the other hand, the Vols are tied for number one in the fewest passes intercepted with three.

Tennessee

The Volunteers will be without top cornerback Alontae Taylor, who opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft. Right tackle Cade Mays is questionable, but Josh Heupel said on Monday that he was likely to play.

Tennessee has won four straight bowl games.

The crowd should be an advantage for Tennessee. After all the game is in Nashville.  Fans of Rocky Top are extremely excited to see their team in a bowl game considering all that has happened the last two years. Tennessee went 3-7 in 2020 and had a new head coach in 2021. Taking all that into account, you have to think Vol fans will fill the stadium.

Tennessee has been first-quarter dominant this year. They are number one in first-quarter scoring, averaging 14.1 points a game.  The Volunteers even have the No. 23 ranked first-quarter defense, allowing four points a game.

The Final Word

One simple number could determine the outcome of this one, five. The Volunteers averaged five yards a carry or more in every game they won against FBS opponents this year.  However, Tennessee averaged fewer than that in every game they lost. It seems pretty simple, average five yards a carry and they win the game.

Purdue, despite not being able to run the ball, stops the run relatively fine. The Boilermakers give up about 4.3 yards per carry.  That number is significantly less than the five yards the Vols need to average. However, teams that have beat them, have pretty much dominated them on the ground. The Wisconsin Badgers had two 140-plus yard rushers.

Without question, some of these numbers may be skewed by players not playing due to injuries, opt-outs, and Covid.

With all this in mind, with all of its missing parts, Purdue will need a lot of breaks to win this one.

 

 

Tennessee                37

Purdue                       23