Tennessee vs Ball State Prediction, Game Preview

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Tennessee vs Ball State prediction, game preview, how to watch. Week 1, Thursday, September 1

Tennessee vs Ball State How To Watch

Date: Thursday, September 1
Game Time: 7:00 ET
Venue: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
How To Watch: SEC Network
Record: Tennessee (0-0), Ball State (0-0)
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Tennessee vs Ball State Game Preview

Why Ball State Will Win

Is the Tennessee defense any better than the version that couldn’t do anything against decent passing games, and is the offensive line any stronger in pass protection?

The Vol front five was outstanding for the ground game, but it gave up a ton of sacks and way too many pressures. Ball State might not have the bulk up front, but the front seven can move and should be able to get into the backfield.

In a perfect world, the Cardinal running game works right away, the line that was good in pass protection allows QB John Paddock time to keep the chains moving, and the team finds a way to take advantage of the time of possession advantage.

Tennessee won’t care how long it has the ball for – Ball State has to somehow work the clock and shorten the game. However …

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Why Tennessee Will Win

Ball State isn’t big on the whole ball control thing, either.

Tennessee might have been the worst in the nation in time of possession, but Ball State wasn’t terribly far behind, holding the ball for just 27:31 per game.

The Cardinal offense is good at dinking and dunking, but it’s not going to crank up the downfield plays, even against the potentially leaky Volunteer secondary.

There’s going to be a big problem for the visitors if Tennessee can get out to a hot start.

The third down stops aren’t going to be there on a regular basis, and the Ball State attack doesn’t have the parts to keep up in a firefight. As long as Vol QB Hendon Hooker gets a little bit of time, he should go off.

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What’s Going To Happen

Ball State won’t be a total pushover, but this should be target practice for the Tennessee offense.

Hooker will be sharp on the first few drives, there will be a decent balance to the offense, and Ball State won’t be able to capitalize on enough decent drives to keep up.

Ball State needs to keep this in the high-20s-low 30s, and the Vols won’t oblige.

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Tennessee vs Ball State Prediction, Line

Tennessee 47, Ball State 17
Line: Tennessee -32.5, o/u: 67.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3

Tennessee vs Ball State Must See Rating: 2

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Story originally appeared on College Football News