Week 2 Game Matchup: UCLA Bruins VS. Tennessee Volunteers

By Dave Consolazio and Sam Saig, September 9, 2009 1:17 pm

UCLA Bruins (1-0) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (1-0)
Saturday, September 12, 1:00 PM PST
Las Vegas Favorite: Tennessee -9.0

Sam’s Take (8 – 1):

I see a lot of similarities in the Vols and Bruins. Both teams feature very good defenses full of all-conference performers, and both offenses are loaded with young, explosive skill-position talent.

In my opinion, the big difference between the two programs is at the quarterback position. Tennessee QB Jonathan Crompton is an experienced senior that has looked outstanding from the day Lane Kiffin and Co. arrived in Knoxville.

Certainly his performances in past seasons have driven Vols fans crazy, but after an excellent spring and an encouraging five-touchdown day against Western Kentucky, Crompton really has the look of a brand new QB. Now he will have to prove how far he has come against a great defense that fared well against him last year.

The Bruins, on the other hand, will send a freshman QB into one of the most hostile environments in the country. There is no denying the talent of Kevin Prince, but this game will be a tall order for him, especially since the UCLA offensive line is still a work in progress. It is critical that he resists the urge to force throws into tight spaces, as he is facing an elite, ball-hawking secondary. He has plenty of weapons (Embree, Austin, Rosario, Paulsen etc.), but his decision-making must be better than it was last Saturday. This game will be a great opportunity for Prince to show what he’s made of.

I expect both teams to use a lot of freshmen on offense. Vols fans got a taste of what heralded true freshman RB Bryce Brown could do (104 -rushing yards, one TD), and I was also impressed with freshman RB David Oku. Both tailbacks should see time behind starter Montario Hardesty. I am also impressed by freshman WR Marsalis Teague, who has Tennessee fans raving about his ability.

For UCLA, I expect to see freshmen Jonathan Franklin, Milton Knox, and Damien Thigpen all involved at running back along with sophomore Derrick Coleman. Norm Chow may also use lightning fast WR Randall Carroll (also a freshman) in order to stretch the Vols D.

As mentioned before, both defenses are excellent. UCLA started slowly against SDSU, but they were exceptional after the first quarter. Obviously Tennessee is also strong on D, especially now that defensive genius Monte Kiffin has installed his famous “Tampa 2” system. I expect S Eric Berry to be even better than he has been because of Kiffin’s system, so the Bruins must be aware of his presence at all times.

In the end, I expect a game effort from the Bruins, but the margin for error is very small for Prince. I think the Vols will be a little too tough at Neyland Stadium, and a few UCLA mistakes should be the difference.

Prediction: Tennessee 31 – UCLA 20

UCLA Player to Keep an Eye On: CB Courtney Viney - With Aaron Hester sidelined with an injury, Viney will need to step up this Saturday. Crompton may look to attack him early.

Tennessee Player to Keep an Eye On: The Entire Offensive Line - This is a massive front that routinely sprung the talented stable of running backs last week. It is critical that DT Brian Price and the rest of the Bruins d-line hold up in this battle.

Dave’s Take (8 – 1):

Tennessee is buzzing after a dominant 63-point performance last week, but let’s calm down Vols fans, it was just Western Kentucky. Tennessee’s offense will have a substantially tougher time putting points on the board against this stout UCLA defense.

Obviously the defense can’t afford to get off to a slow start like they did last week. Down 14-3 at home against San Diego State is quite a bit different from being down two scores on the road against Tennessee.

With last year’s game really setting the tone for a disastrous season last year, the revenge factor will definitely be pumping in Tennessee’s favor this time around. But the real story here will be quarterback Kevin Prince.

This looks like it will be a very difficult day for Prince. It’s hard enough to go into an extremely hostile environment, but to do so with a battered up offensive line against a tough defensive line, as well as having one of the absolute best in the nation in Eric Berry up against you? Not exactly a fun way to get your career started on the road.

I expect Tennessee to do a good job defending against the run and forcing Prince to try to beat them, which could spell trouble. He’s got a bright future ahead of him, but expecting a mistake free day this Saturday might be asking too much.

I see Tennessee having difficulty putting points on the board as well, especially if UCLA’s defensive line can control the tempo. This game should be one of those ugly battle-for-every-inch types, with Tennessee’s home field advantage and thirst for revenge giving them the edge.

Prediction: Tennessee 20 – UCLA 13

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13 Responses to “Week 2 Game Matchup: UCLA Bruins VS. Tennessee Volunteers”

  1. Jonathan Morris Jonathan Morris says:

    You guys are crazy if you think UCLA will go to Tennessee and keep it that close. Have you ever been to Knoxville on a Saturday? Tennessee has a VERY strong defensive front that will blast through UCLA’s weak O-line, and to make matters worse the linebackers and secondary of Tennessee have world class speed that will make it a very long day.

    Prediction: Tennessee 42 – UCLA 10

  2. Tim Maness Tim Maness says:

    Tennessee is going be ready for UCLA. The Bruins are in for a real tennessee ass-whipping I’m afraid.

    Prediction Tennessee 35 UCLA 7

  3. Nick Davis Nick Davis says:

    Guys, you must be high or something. Tennessee’s defense first off is way more explosive than UCLA’s. Secondly, I don’t care who you face, when you have over 600 yards on offense, that’s amazing. Bryce Brown, Montario Hardesty, and David Oku (maybe even Tauren Poole) will pound it through UCLA’s line. Lane Kiffin knows what he’s doing and he sure as heck isn’t gonna let some team like UCLA (which Ed Orgeron especially doesn’t like) score much or gain yardage. Neyland will be packed and UCLA will choke under the pressure and the Vols will win, making this a confident win…Go Vols!!!!

  4. Pontius Pilot Pontius Pilot says:

    I see the Tennessee fans with their collective one tooth
    flapping in the wind are at it again. UCLA beat Tennessee
    last year with a 3rd string quarterback and a make-shift line.
    You got punked last year by scrubs.

    Ask USC fans if they think Kiffin knows what he is doing? He was the brain trust that cost them the National Title against Texas, when he decided NOT to have Reggie Bush on the field
    on the vital 4th and one play in the 4th quarter?

    The weather: 82 degrees at game time, 30% humidity. A non-factor. The game isnt even sold out. Estimating around 80,000.
    Non-Factor. Your quarterback is only starting because Josh Nunes de-commited. Josh Nunes lost out to Richard Brehaut who is the 2nd string quarterback at UCLA, for the scholarship to
    come and play at UCLA.

    It will be close. But Tennessee will lose, one tooth no longer flapping because it will be covered by a frown, clown.

  5. As a Pac 10 fan i have to root for a victory over an opponent from another conference.However as a USC fan i am not looking through the same rose colored glasses that the bruins faithful are.Here are the facts.Forget last years overtime victory over the volunteers,over the course of the series those guys have owned UCLA.Couple that with the fact that you have an inexperienced QB and you are playing in one of the toughest stadiums in all of college football and i foresee disaster for the bruins.UT may be the most underrated team in the country.They are loaded with talent and have a chip on their shoulder.Many a proud team has been devoured inside neyland stadium.I traveled down their with a friend several years ago.106,000 people was an amazing sight.Their fans are rabid.

  6. the scribe the scribe says:

    I like the prediction by sam, but I don’t think the bruins will score that many points. I think the sec defense of the vols will hold off the ucla offense. I think Crompton will have a good game as well.

  7. UCLADude UCLADude says:

    LOL at all the Tennessee and USC fans.

  8. Josh Josh says:

    Wow, im so glad UCLA shut up all the haters.


    Wow those Vols sure beat up on the Bruins….they completely blew them up like some of you said……..OH WAIT THEY LOST!!!! 19-15 UCLA

    GO BRUINS!!!!

  10. Patrick Patrick says:

    “ass-whipping” LOL

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