- Associated Press - Thursday, September 3, 2015

No. 25 Tennessee (7-6 in 2014) vs. Bowling Green (8-6 in 2014) at Nashville, Tennessee, 4 p.m.

Line: Tennessee by 20 ½

Series Record: First meeting

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Tennessee is attempting to win a game as a ranked team for the first time since 2007. The Volunteers ae in the Top 25 for the first time since September 2012. Bowling Green is seeking its first victory over a ranked foe since beating No. 25 Pittsburgh in its 2008 season opener.



KEY MATCHUP

Bowling Green’s offensive line against Tennessee’s defensive line. Bowling Green returns all five starters from last year on the offensive line. Bowling Green’s offensive linemen have 125 career starts to rank second among all FBS teams in that category. Tennessee’s Derek Barnett and Curt Maggitt make the Vols the only FBS program to return two double-digit sack producers from last season. Barnett lines up at one defensive end spot, while Maggitt alternates between end and linebacker.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tennessee: RB Jalen Hurd. After rushing for 899 yards as a freshman last season, Hurd has bulked up to 240 pounds in an attempt to add durability. The Nashville resident is hoping to have a happier homecoming than last season, when he missed the majority of a victory over Vanderbilt with what the team described as an upper-body injury.

Bowling Green: QB Matt Johnson: This game marks Johnson’s return from a hip injury that he suffered in the 2014 opener, causing him to miss the rest of that season. Johnson threw for 3,467 yards and 25 touchdowns while running for five more scores in 2013.

FACTS & FIGURES

Both teams are coming off bowl victories. Tennessee beat Iowa 45-28 in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Bowling Green defeated South Alabama 33-28 in the Camellia Bowl. …. Bowling Green’s offense averaged 18.6 seconds per play last season. Baylor and Arizona were the only FBS programs with faster-paced offenses. … Tennessee receiver Alton “Pig” Howard, who led the Volunteers in catches and yards receiving last season, was suspended from the season opener for a violation of team rules.

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