Tennessee football vs. LSU: Score prediction, scouting report for Vols vs. Tigers

Tennessee football is playing LSU for the first time since 2017 and is making its first trip to Baton Rouge since 2010.

No. 8 Tennessee (4-0, 1-0 SEC) faces LSU (4-1, 2-0) on Saturday (noon ET, ESPN).

Here is what to know about the matchup:

LSU's Jayden Daniels makes it happen

Jayden Daniels transferred to LSU from Arizona State in the offseason, then won the starting quarterback spot. He has thrown for 915 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions while completing 67.9% of his passes.

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Daniels has been a problem on the ground and is LSU's leading rusher. He averages 64.2 yards rushing per game, the best figure for any SEC quarterback. He has three rushing touchdowns.

"The quarterback run absolutely is a huge part of the football game," Vols coach Josh Heupel said. "That can be in some read game, but also just as the pocket breaks down or he goes through his progression, his ability to escape."

About the last time Tennessee played at LSU

Four coaches and 12 years ago, Tennessee played at LSU.

That 2010 trip featured a forgettable moment for the Vols but also one that summarized the Derek Dooley coaching era in his first season.

Tennessee started 2-2 before facing the Tigers, then No. 10 in the nation. The Vols led the Tigers 14-10 in the final minute with LSU inside the UT 5-yard line. UT stopped quarterback Jordan Jefferson and a bad snap ended the game — except it didn't. Tennessee was penalized for having 13 men on the field defensively.

LSU running back Stevan Ridley scored a touchdown on the ensuing play with no time on the clock and Tennessee lost 16-14. Dooley was fired at the end of the season after three years in Knoxville.

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Yawning Baton Rouge

Tennessee will have an early wake-up call in Baton Rouge. The Vols and Tigers are kicking off at 11 a.m. local time.

“If you ask coaches everywhere, they say, ‘Give me the earliest kickoff possible,'" Heupel said. "For us, it’s going to be a great environment. I’m sure it’ll be a packed house and this is a tough place to play, but it’s so much about us and our preparation to make sure we handle things the right way."

Tennessee has had two night games this season against Ball State and Akron. Its games against Florida and Pitt were at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Turnovers at a premium

LSU and Tennessee rank at the top of the SEC in turnover margin through the first month. The Tigers have a plus-five margin while the Vols are plus-three.

Tennessee is the only SEC team that hasn't thrown an interception, as Hendon Hooker has been nearly flawless passing throughout his tenure as the UT starting quarterback.

LSU has eight fumble recoveries, tied for the lead nationally. The Tigers had four fumble recoveries against Southern in Week 2. They forced four turnovers in their 21-17 win at Auburn.

Can Tennessee shore up its pass defense?

The Vols were torched by Florida's Anthony Richardson prior to their open week. The Gators QB passed for a career-high 453 yards against UT on Sept. 24.

Tennessee is allowing 309.3 passing yards per game, the worst figure among Power Five teams and fourth-worst among 131 FBS teams. UT's cornerbacks will be challenged more without Warren Burrell, who is out for the season following surgery.

Prediction

Tennessee 33, LSU 31: Tennessee's offense can get it done in this one. But can its defense play better than it did against Florida? Containing Daniels is the key to doing that.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at michael.wilson@knoxnews.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Tennessee football vs. lsu: Score prediction, scouting report