Nov 14, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; View of Nissan Stadium before the game between the Tennessee Titans and the New Orleans Saints. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
In their final game of Josh Heupel’s first season as head coach, Tennessee football will take the field in Nashville for the Transperfect Music City Bowl. The Vols will be looking to round out a wild and tumultuous 2021 season in epic fashion.
UT will face the Purdue Boilermakers, who come in under Jeff Brohm having won their final two games over the Northwestern Wildcats and Indiana Hoosiers. This is just the second meeting ever between these two schools.
Rocky Top also won their final two games over the South Alabama Jaguars and Vanderbilt Commodores. Both teams’ only losses in November were to New Years Six teams, Purdue the Ohio State Buckeyes and UT the Georgia Bulldogs. Here is all the information you need for Tennessee football’s matchup.
Brohm and Purdue have proven themselves this year with two wins over teams who were undefeated and in the top five at the time, the Iowa Hawkeyes and Michigan State Spartans. Nobody will doubt that Michigan State is still a top five caliber team at 10-2.
Simply put, this team is dangerous. UT’s best win is at the Kentucky Wildcats, ranked No. 22 in the College Football Playoff, No. 25 in the AP Poll and No. 22 in the Coaches Poll. As a result, the Vols will have their hands full. They should know that, as they almost hired Brohm in 2017 during the disastrous coaching search that cost John Currie his job as athletic director.
Opt outs in this game include cornerback Alontae Taylor for UT and wide receiver David Bell and defensive end George Karlaftis for Purdue. No. 2 wide receiver Milton Wright and No. 1 cornerback Dedrick Mackey are ineligible for Purdue. Other absences include Greg Long for Purdue and Cade Mays, Elijah Simmons, Brandon Turnage and Kenneth George Jr. for UT.
The first time these two teams met was in the 1979 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. Purdue, led by third-year head coach Jim Young, jumped out to a 21-0 lead, but Jimmy Streater led the Vols back, and they took a 22-21 lead in the fourth. However, Purdue then scored a late touchdown to win.
It was what remains the only 10-win season in Purdue history. The Vols finished 7-5 under Johnny Majors, who like Heupel this year, was coaching in his first bowl game at UT at the time. However, it was Majors’ third year on the job.
Should the Vols win this game, it will make for five straight bowl wins by them dating back to the 2014 season. Tennessee football will have also won all of those games against Big Ten teams. That would tie the longest winning streak they had in bowl games, which happened from the end of the 1985 season to the end of the 1990 season previously with them missing a bowl in 1988.
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