Who has the edge in the 2016 Outback Bowl? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Who has the edge in the 2016 Outback Bowl?

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Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs (11) giving high-fives after Tennessee's 53-28 win over Vanderbilt in Neyland Stadium Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL) Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs (11) giving high-fives after Tennessee's 53-28 win over Vanderbilt in Neyland Stadium Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

QUARTERBACKS

Tennessee is preparing for senior Zack Oliver to see some time for Northwestern, but dual-threat Clayton Thorson has taken the bulk of the snaps for the Wildcats. Thorson is Northwestern's second-leading rusher with 374 yards and five touchdowns, but he has completed just 51.6 percent of his passes. Tennessee's dual-threat quarterback Joshua Dobbs has been more effective in both facets, rushing for 623 yards and nine touchdowns and passing for 2,125 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Advantage: Tennessee

RUNNING BACKS

Northwestern's Justin Jackson finished second in the Big Ten with 1,344 rushing yards. His backup Warren Long rushed for 321 yards and five touchdowns on just 56 carries. Tennessee's tailback duo combined to outrush them, though, with sophomore Jalen Hurd rushing for 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns and redshirt sophomore Alvin Kamara rushing for 645 yards and six touchdowns. They also combined to catch 53 passes for 462 yards and five touchdowns.

Advantage: Tennessee

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Northwestern "superback" Dan Vitale, a hybrid tight end/fullback at 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, leads the Wildcats in receiving with 33 receptions for 355 yards and four touchdowns. Christian Jones is the only Northwestern wide receiver with more than 20 receptions (23) and 200 receiving yards (234). Tennessee's wideouts aren't especially prolific, but starters Von Pearson, Josh Malone and Josh Smith all have more than 300 receiving yards.

Advantage: Tennessee

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