Volunteers Shut Out Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, 55-0
It was a beautiful afternoon to wrap up homecoming week at Neyland Stadium Saturday. Looking to break a three game loosing streak, and overcome a week packed full of controversy, the University of Tennessee Volunteers took to the field in what ended up being a complete shutout over the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles. The Vols also secured a spot in the post season, and grabbed their bowl eligibility without any question.
Tech won the toss, and elected to receive the second half, giving the Vols the ball first. During the initial drive, which took less than a minute to complete, quarterback Josh Dobbs launched a 30-yarder to Josh Malone, who happened to be standing right in the checkerboard. The catch would be the first of two touchdowns for Malone, who set a career-high 112 receiving yards for the evening.
That first drive set the tone for the rest of the game. Six minutes later, Malone scored his second and final touchdown for the evening. The steam rolling continued with the talk of the evening, sophomore John Kelly. Kelly, who is filling the spot made vacant by Jalen Hurd, made his career start, and quickly won the approval of the Volunteer fanbase. Playing mostly in the first half, Kelly racked up 104 yards and a touchdown, and looks to be an aggressive replacement to Hurd, who opted to transfer earlier in the week. The first quarter ended with the Volunteers ahead 21-0
The orange and white did not slow down for the second quarter either. Opening up play on the other end of the field, Jauan Jennings didn’t hesitate to introduce himself to the checkerboard with 14:55 left in the half. It was then that the Vols’ secondary got to show what the future looks like. True freshman runningback Carlin Fils-Aime plowed two yards to gain his first touchdown as a Volunteer, with Quinten Dormady at the helm of quarterback. The power struggle continued for the last four minutes of the half until the clock struck zero, when Aaron Medley kicked in a field goal just for good measure. The first half ended with the Volunteers on top 38-0.
The second half had fans singing rocky top all the way, as the Volunteers second and third strings stayed at the helm and their starting mentors stayed on the sidelines and cheered them on. Early in the third quarter, Fils-Aime completed another one yard power drive to the endzone for his second touchdown for the night. Throughout the third quarter the Volunteers and the Golden Eagles would struggle back and forth, until early in the fourth, when the Vols’ offense got close enough for another Aaron Medley field goal. The power struggle continued until, with less than three minutes left in the game, the Golden Eagles were forced to punt yet again, and Marquez Callaway nabbed up the ball and ran it 62 yards for another Tennessee touchdown. With the good extra point, the final score was 55-0, and Tennessee breaks its loosing streak.
Defensively, Nigel Warrior shined the brightest he has yet, with a career-high seven tackles, followed up by Rashaan Gaulden with six.
The win gained the Tennessee Volunteers bowl eligibility for the third consecutive time. The last time that the Vols were eligible three years in a row was from the 2002 to 2004 seasons, with coach Phillip Fulmer calling the shots.
Next up for the Volunteers will be the Kentucky Wildcats. The 5-4 Wildcats will be traveling to Knoxville still reeling from a close 27-24 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. Kickoff is set for noon, and will be on the SEC Network.