One year after LSU fired coach Les Miles during the 2016 season, Tennessee decided to change coaches in the midst of its 2017 campaign. The Volunteers axed Butch Jones last weekend and will turn to Brady Hoke for the final two games, beginning with Saturday’s home contest against No. 21 LSU.
Hoke, the former Michigan coach, was in his first season as defensive line coach of the Volunteers, who have lost five of their last six games. “We will tweak some things because of the comfort level I have and how I would like to run a program,” Hoke, whose team has averaged 15 points per game since back-to-back 42-point efforts by its opponents to begin the season, told reporters. The team lost 50-17 to Missouri last weekend, allowing the final 33 points while getting outgained overall 659-285. LSU, meanwhile, has won four of its last five contests, with the only loss in that stretch coming against current No. 1 Alabama.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: LSU -15.5
ABOUT LSU (7-3, 4-2 SEC): Coach Ed Orgeron was the interim coach at USC in 2013 and held the same position at LSU last season, winning his first game on the sideline in each case. “I’ve been there,” Orgeron told reporters this week. “They can’t change much, obviously, but they’re going to tweak some things.” Derrius Guice ran for 147 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 33-10 triumph over Arkansas, while Danny Etling threw a pair of TD passes.
ABOUT TENNESSEE (4-6, 0-6): The Volunteers have used three different quarterbacks this season - the latest being Will McBride, who was 1-of-8 against Southern Miss two weeks ago before completing 50 percent of his passes with one touchdown and two interceptions last week. McBride led the team with 63 rushing yards last week and threw its first touchdown pass since Sept. 23. The Volunteers, who went 9-4 each of the previous two seasons, potentially still can reach the postseason with home victories Saturday and next weekend against Vanderbilt.
1. The teams have not met since 2011, when top-ranked LSU throttled Tennessee 38-7.
2. LSU has not allowed more than 24 points in any of its last six games.
3. In his last five contests, Etling has recorded six touchdown passes and one interception.
PREDICTION: LSU 27, Tennessee 17