No. 12 Tennessee hosts Virginia at home away from home to open season

Virginia at No. 12 Tennessee, Saturday at 12 p.m. ET (ABC)

Line: Tennessee by 27 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Tennessee 3-1.


Tennessee wants to kick off coach Josh Heupel's third season in strong fashion playing 180 miles from Neyland Stadium. The Volunteers start ranked for the 43rd time in program history, good for 10th all-time in college football. They also are coming off a season where they finished No. 6 after routing Clemson in the Orange Bowl. This is Virginia's first game since last November when a student and former football player fatally shot and killed Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D'Sean Perry after a field trip. Virginia canceled the final two games in the wake of the shooting, and this will be the Cavaliers' first game in 294 days.


Tennessee's offensive line against Virginia's defense. Even with the Cavaliers playing without Chico Bennett, who led the defense with seven sacks last season, they still have seven other starters available including three on the line for a defense that averaged three sacks a game last season. The Vols might not have center Cooper Mays back after a procedure on his knee in August.


Virginia: Quarterback Tony Muskett will start after transferring from Monmouth. He started 23 games over three years at Monmouth where he threw for 51 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.

Tennessee: Quarterback Joe Milton III. The sixth-year senior gets to show how much he's learned going into his third season in Heupel's up-tempo offense. He is 5-4 as a starter, including 3-1 with the Vols. He is 85 of 144 for 1,346 yards at Tennessee. He's the only quarterback among 114 at the FBS level to throw 10 or more TDs last season and not have an interception.


Tennessee returns 12 starters from a team that went 11-2 last season for the program's best record since 2001. ... This is the first game between these teams since the 1991 Sugar Bowl. The Vols won 23-22. ... This is the first time Virginia has opened a season at a neutral site since 1989 and only the fourth time in program history. ... Virginia has won six straight season openers and is 85-39-9 in openers. ... Tennessee is 94-26-6 in season openers and Heupel is 5-0 as a head coach. ... The Vols are 8-2 playing outside the Southeastern Conference under Heupel and have outscored opponents 485-190. They have scored at least 30 points in each of those games.


AP college football: and