Tennessee Volunteers vs UTEP Miners: Week 3 Preview

LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 28: Ty Chandler /

Saturday the Tennessee Volunteers will play host to the UTEP Miners in Neyland Stadium. Here is a look at what to expect from the Vols next opponent.

Going into week three, the Tennessee Volunteers are sitting at 1-1 after a convincing win over ETSU.  Saturday the UTEP Miners will come to town hoping to get their first victory of the season after a 0-2 start.

The Miners play in Conference USA  and are coming off a bad 2017 season in which they had a record of 0-12.  After a 0-2 start to this season, UTEP has lost 14 straight games.  First-year head coach Dana Dimel is looking to turn things around and get his team back in the win column.


The offense for the Miners runs through the junior quarterback Kai Locksley. So far on the year, Locksley has attempted 45 passes, completing only 19 of them for 177 yards and one interception.  In addition to throwing the ball, Locksley is also the team’s leading rusher.  He has rushed the ball 38 times for 169 yards and two touchdowns on the year. Besides Locksley, Quardraiz Wadley has seen a few snaps at the running back position, as he has rushed the ball for 139 yards on just 15 attempts with two touchdowns.

Through two games, the majority of the offense has come on the ground.  The Miners are averaging a total of 183.5 rushing yards/game as opposed to only 125 yards through the air.  At this point, they have only scored 4 touchdowns this season and they have all been on the ground.

The Miners total offense ranks 71st in the country at this point and will look to improve against the Volunteers.  If this is going to happen, Kai Locksley is going to need someone to step up and give him some help.


If the Miners expect to be able to have a chance at the upset this weekend, their defense is going to have to step up.  Through the first two games, the Miners defense ranks 107th

Tennessee Football
KNOXVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 08: Head coach Jeremy Pruitt of the Tennessee Volunteers brings his team onto the field prior to a game against the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers at Neyland Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tennesee won the game 59-3. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images) /

overall.  The leader of the defense is 6-1 230 lb linebacker A.J. Hotchkins.  Hotchkins leads the Miners defense so far this season with 21 tackles and one tackle for loss.

In order for UTEP to have any success, they will have to be able to slow down the rushing attack of the Volunteers.  This could prove to be difficult as the Miners are giving up an average of 260.5 yards/game.

This is a game the Volunteers should be able to win.  Where they will have to be careful is not looking past this game in anticipation of their upcoming matchup against the Florida Gators.  The Vols showed much improvement in their game against ETSU; however, they still have plenty of work to do.

I look for Tennessee to try and establish the line of scrimmage early on in this game and pound the ball on the ground.  If they are able to do this, look for offensive coordinator Tyson Helton to open up the offense and take some shots downfield.

According to head coach Jeremy Pruitt, his team is focused on playing the UTEP Miners this weekend and that is the only team they are worried about.  This will be Pruitt’s second game to coach inside Neyland Stadium and should finish this one with a home record of 2-0.