The 2021 TransPerfect Music City Bowl features the 7-5 Tennessee Volunteers against the 8-4 Purdue Boilermakers. Here is the 2021 TransPerfect Music City Bowl preview.
Tennessee Volunteers (7-5)
Another first-year head coach in the SEC found a large amount of success in his first year. Josh Heupel delivered Vol Nation a 7-5 season up against a pretty tough schedule. All the Tennessee losses were to ranked teams at the time, minus a loss to eventual ACC Champ Pittsburgh early in the season.
One important result of that loss was the emergence of Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker. Hooker led the SEC in passing efficiency rating with his 26 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. Not to mention his 561 yards on the ground.
Defensively the Vols might have a little trouble. They ranked 12th in the SEC in scoring defense at 27.5ppg. They’re good against the run but allow a staggering 251.4ypg through the air. Senior defensive back Theo Jackson is one strong point in that secondary however. Jackson, who will be returning to his hometown in Nashville for the bowl game, was third in the SEC in passes defended this year.
Purdue Boilermakers (8-4)
Fifth year head coach Jeff Brohm has continued to find success with this Purdue program. Despite his name floating around in coaching search rumors, Brohm has completed his 5th season with Purdue now and achieved a new high in win totals at 8-4. It’s the most wins for the Boilermakers since the 2007 season.
Purdue’s offensive was one of the better in the B1G, and behind only Ohio State in passing offense. Aidan O’Connell has been a big reason for that. The senior ranks in the top three in efficiency rating, completion percentage, and passing yards. He’s 4th in passing touchdowns. All this with limited action in the first month of the year.
Purdue averages a B1G worst 2.9 yards per carry so they’ll need O’Connell to have a good day. Unfortunately, he’s going to be without First Team All-Big Ten receiver David Bell. Milton Wright and Jackson Anthrop have seen plenty of action in Bell’s wake and should be up for the task. Wright had a 213 yard game against Northwestern at the end of November.
The offense is without their playmaker, and the defense will be too. George Karlaftis has opted out after an outstanding year. Purdue is good against the run but are really strong against the pass, allowing just 194.6ypg through the air. The secondary is very strong with guys like Cam Allen (team-leading four interceptions), Dedrick Mackey (three interceptions) and Jamari Brown team-leading seven passes defended).
The matchup appears to favor Purdue if however the losses to their best players on each side of the ball should take a toll. Defending a veteran like Hendon Hooker who can beat you with his legs it going to be something the Boilermakers haven’t seen much of this year. If it turns into a shootout the offense is going to need some receivers to step up in a big way as Tennessee’s offense can score in bunches.
Tennessee Volunteers: 27, Purdue Boilermakers: 31
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