From the opening kickoff, it was apparent what was about to happen in Neyland Stadium on Saturday.
Tennessee won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball to start the game. And freshman running back Ty Chandler took the opening kickoff 91 yards for a score.
That was the kind of start the Vols wanted and needed in this game, and they never looked back. Tennessee would use big plays from Carlin Fils-Aime, Ty Chandler, Marquez Callaway, and Brandon Johnson to route FCS opponent Indiana State 42-7.
Several of the Vols’ young players, include quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, had the opportunity to see the field in this game, and several of those younger Vols took advantage of their playing time. But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses on Saturday.
The Vols played mistake-free football against Georgia Tech to open the season when it came to turning the ball over, but that ended in this game with two bad turnovers by Quinten Dormady. In the second half, Dormady was sacked and stripped, and that fumble led to an Indiana State touchdown. Then on the Vols’ next possession, Dormady threw an interception into the end zone. The Sycamores wouldn’t score on that drive, however.
Tennessee wasn’t free of other mistakes either. After having only two penalties called against them in their season opener, the Vols had six flags thrown against them in this game, including two on punt returns.
But for the most part, the Vols played a much more sound game overall than they did against Georgia Tech. And they cruised to a victory despite those bad plays.
Tennessee totaled 395 yards of offense against an outmatched Indiana State team, and the Vols gave up just 215 yards.
Quinten Dormady finished 13-of-18 for 194 yards and tossed two touchdowns and one interception while Guarantano threw for just 41 yards while completing only four of his 12 pass attempts. He did add his first career touchdown late in the fourth quarter, however. Tennessee used a bevy of running backs to run for 160 yards, and John Kelly led the way with 18 carries for 80 yards. He also caught a team-high five passes for 60 yards.
Marquez Callaway only came down with one catch, but it was for a score. He hauled in a 37-yard touchdown in the third quarter that saw him stiff arm a defender and sprint his way to the end zone like he did against Georgia Tech to open the season. Fellow sophomore Brandon Johnson also caught a touchdown pass, and he finished with four catches for 50 yards.
This game was little more than a tuneup for the Vols’ Week 3 match-up against Florida, and Tennessee hopes they worked out some more kinks on both offense and defense in time for their first SEC game of the season. The Vols will travel to The Swamp and take on Florida next weekend.
The Gators didn’t have a game this weekend because their match-up with Northern Colorado was canceled due to Hurricane Irma moving through Florida this weekend. So Florida essentially had a bye week before the play Tennessee next weekend.
Tennessee is now 2-0, but they still have plenty to work through on both sides of the ball as they head into SEC play.