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Tennessee smokes South Alabama 60-14

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After four straight games against ranked SEC opponents, the 2021 Tennessee Vols were primed for a letdown. The Jaguars of South Alabama were coming to town, boasting a 5-5 record, and like the home team, were looking to become bowl eligible with a win. Could the Jaguars of the Sun Belt Conference spring the upset?

The Answer: not this Evening. Tennessee came out smoking once again, carried the first quarter momentum into the second, and on a chilly November night, won handily by a 60-14 score.

Hendon Hooker threw for 273 yards on only 20 passes, Velus Jones, Jr., scored on a 96 yard kickoff return and had 100 yards receiving, and Jeremy Banks once again was the leading Vol tackler to lead the Vols to bowl eligibility.

 

 

The Vols started hot again, scoring fourteen points on two early touchdown runs by Jabari Small and Jaylen Wright. Receiver Cedric Tillman and tight end Princeton Fant added two more TDs in the second quarter to build the lead to 28-0 before South Alabama came to life. The Jags finally tallied on an eleven play, 75 yard drive to cut the lead to twenty one points. Notably, Tennessee called two timeouts during their opponents drive as time was dwindling before the half, Coach Josh Heupel believing that if South Alabama scores, then his team would have time put together a drive and score again too.

That strategy proved unnecessary thanks to Jones and the special teams. He took the kickoff and wound his way with speed, strength and savvy to a 95 yard kickoff return for a touchdown that seemingly broke the will of the opposition. Chase McGrath added the extra point for a 35-7 halftime lead.

 

As “Proud to be an American” Lee Greenwood joined the Pride of the Southland Band to praise the assembled veterans during the break, the Jags first year coach Kane Wommack was cooking up a surprise. South Alabama opened the second half with an onside kick that fooled Tennessee, and gave the visitors potential momentum to cut into the lead. It was not to be. The Vols’ Matthew Butler sacked quarterback Desmond Trotter and forced a punt. Tennessee scored on another Small run on the ensuing possession, and the rout was on.

 

The scoring for the evening ended with an anomaly: the Vols’ last two scores were by safeties. Trotter was tackled in the end zone for one and the ball was snapped over punter Jack Brooks head through the back of the end zone head for another. Joe Milton III and Central Florida transfer Gaston Moore saw QB action in the waning moments of the game, Moore completing his first pass to Grant Frerking to cap a 2-2 passing day.

 

 

In a post game interview, Heupel said that a bowl bid wasn’t the focal point of the team’s preparation for the game. He praised the Vols’ intrinsic ability to compete within themselves to strive for continued progress individually and as a team to avoid an upset after their brutal SEC stretch. He noted that Cedric Tillman continued his hot streak with five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. But Jones was undoubtedly the star of the game with 103 yards on six receptions and the kickoff return TD.

In state rival Vanderbilt and a winning season are the challenges for next Saturday at Neyland Stadium. Most pundits gave the Volunteers little chance of accomplishing a 7-5 regular season record, but now that’s a distinct possibility. Heupel and defensive coordinator Tim Banks have the team in an aggressive mode pursuing a significant bowl bid. What promised to be a transition year has turned into one where the stadium crew has been required to fund extra fireworks to match the on field point production by the Tennessee football squad. A record breaking scoring year is in the mix. Stay tuned!

 

 

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Scrappy little football team from Mobile. Took a long bus ride to Knox, and toted an a$$ whuppin' home with them. And about a million bucks. 

 

They play some pretty good baseball at USA. CWS occasionally, they'll put a team together.

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