Welcome from Cowbell Central

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Talk about colors that clash.

Maroon and orange mix about as well as oil and water, which segues into what should be the matchup of the night: Tennessee’s passing game vs. Mississippi State’s secondary.

The Vols lead the SEC in passing offense at 329.2 yards per game. Quarterback Tyler Bray and his top two receivers, Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, are all high on NFL draft lists for 2013.

They’ll go against a veteran Mississippi State secondary led by senior cornerback Johnthan Banks, who already has three interceptions this season. It’s not just Banks, though. Senior safety Corey Broomfield, senior cornerback Darius Slay and junior safety Nickoe Whitley have combined with Banks to intercept 37 career passes, and they’ve returned eight of those for touchdowns.

The cowbells are already clanging in what should be an electric atmosphere at Scott Field.

The No. 19 Bulldogs are bent on proving that they’re a legitimate top 25 team after a cushy schedule to this point. A win Saturday night opens up all sorts of possibilities for them this season.

For the Vols, they just need an SEC win, or it's an October that could really get ugly. They get Alabama next week at home and then South Carolina on the road the week after that.