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Battle-tested Vols eager for rivalry game at Alabama

UT is in the midst of a four-game stretch against ranked opponents and will attempt to snap a 14-game skid to the Crimson Tide.
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2021 at 11:32 AM EDT
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Josh Heupel Speaks Before Alabama Matchup

Head Coach Heupel speaks with media for the last time before a matchup with rival Alabama. More: https://bit.ly/3ni4h2q

Posted by WVLT on Thursday, October 21, 2021

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Despite a tough loss on Saturday night inside a packed Neyland Stadium, Tennessee was back to work on Monday with a huge opportunity on the horizon against No. 4 Alabama this weekend.

The Vols will look to bounce back as they travel to Tuscaloosa to take on their longtime rival on Saturday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN. UT is in the midst of a four-game stretch against ranked opponents and will attempt to snap a 14-game skid to the Crimson Tide.

“It’s a huge opponent,” head coach Josh Heupel said on Monday. “They’re a really good football team and it’s a rivalry game—one that our guys and staff will be extremely excited about being ready for and going down to Tuscaloosa and competing against a really good football team.”

One thing is for certain, this year’s version of the Vols is going to battle for all 60 minutes and leave everything out on the field.

“I thought our guys competed extremely hard and played every second on the clock. They played it right up until the end,” Heupel said when talking about last Saturday’s game against Ole Miss. “There were some things that we obviously can do better in all three phases. We had to play smarter to finish on the right side of that but didn’t do that. Those are things that for the most part we control.”

If the Big Orange wish to spring the upset on Saturday, they’ll need another solid performance from their consistently improving defense, who held the Rebels’ high-scoring attack to just seven points in the second half on Saturday night.

“Fourth quarter, they did a fantastic job, and it speaks to their effort, strain and competitive spirit,” Heupel said about his defense. “It speaks to their understanding of what we’re doing. I think defensively, we continue to get better every single week.”

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