Key No. 1 - Stop Tennessee rushing attack - FAIL
Tennessee racked up 331 rushing yards, which was more than 100 yards over their 213.7 yard per game average going into the matchup. The Vols had nearly three different players reach 100 yards rushing, with Jalen Hurd totalling 120 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs was able to extend plays and escape potential sacks with his legs, averaging 8.5 yards per carry in 11 carries against the 'Dores.
Key No. 2 - Play a mistake free game - FAIL
The Commodores did not play a disciplined game of football with nine penalties for 84 yards. Special teams were again a problem for the 'Dores who had a punt returned 85 yards for a touchdown against them. Vanderbilt punter Tommy Openshaw averaged 46.6 yards per punt but Tennessee return man Cameron Sutton averaged 24.6 yards per punt return to give them great field position. A questionable decision to squid kick in the first half gave the Vols more excellent field position, leading to more Tennessee points.
Key No. 3 - Punish Vols for stacking the box - PASS
Freshman Kyle Shurmur set new career-highs with 15 completions, 34 pass attempts, 209 yards and three touchdown passes. The three touchdown passes by Shurmur were the most by a Commodore this season. Trent Sherfield led the Commodores with six receptions for 85 yards receiving and a touchdown. In his last game in the Commodore black and gold Steven Scheu had three receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown. Vanderbilt's offense was balanced with 202 yards rushing on 36 attempts, only seven more rushing yards and two more carries than pass attempts.