Tennessee rolled to a 38-7 win over Utah State on Sunday night – easily dismissing a team that many tabbed for the upset on the national stage. Here are a few quick-hitting thoughts from the game. Check back for full coverage soon.
How they scored:
• 8-yard touchdown run around right end on a jet sweep by Pig Howard at 9:23 in 1st quarter. (XP Medley), 7-0 Tennessee
• 12-yard touchdown reception by Brendan Downs from Justin Worley at 9:09 in 1st quarter (XP Medley), 14-0 Tennessee
• 36-yard field goal by Aaron Medley at 1:00 in 2nd quarter, 17-0 Tennessee
• 14-yard touchdown reception by Von Pearson from Worley at 5:31 in 3rd quarter (XP Medley), 24-0 Tennessee
• 15-yard touchdown reception by Jalen Hurd from Worley at 14:51 in 4th quarter (XP Medley), 31-0 Tennessee
• 37-yard touchdown reception by Hunter Sharp from Chuckie Keeton at 14:16 in 4th quarter (XP Medley), 31-7 Tennessee
• 7-yard touchdown run by Marlin Lane at 10:36 in 4th quarter (XP Medley), 38-7 Tennessee
1. LB A.J. Johnson: He was everywhere. He forced a fumble in kickoff coverage that set up Tennessee’s second touchdown and really gave the Vols confidence and breathing room. He pretty much ended any chance of a Utah State comeback in the fourth quarter with an interception and return into the red zone that set up UT’s touchdown to go up 38-7.
2. CB Cam Sutton: Made a nice interception and was a solid tackler.
3. QB Justin Worley: He got some help from his receivers making plays after the catch, but he managed a very nice game overall. Finished the game 27-of-38 for 273 yards, three touchdowns, and perhaps most importantly, didn’t turn the ball over.
4. WR Pig Howard: Had some mistakes including a drop and a bad underthrow on a reverse pass, but he led the Vols in receptions and had a nice 8-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep.
Game was over when: Utah State never really threatened once the Vols got a comfortable 24-0 lead. Johnson’s interception certainly ended any hopes they had, but, realistically, it’s doubtful the Aggies were ever getting back in the game once they got down three scores.
Quick takeaway: Big win for Tennessee. Any W would’ve sufficed for this young team, but the Vols made quite a statement with much of the nation watching. Justin Worley did a great job managing the game, the playmakers were too much for Utah State’s secondary and Tennessee was opportunistic – pounding on Utah State’s mistakes. Butch Jones will certainly say the team is a work in progress, and he’s right. There were a few sloppy mistakes and the offensive line was a little porous at times. But great start against a quality opponent for Jones and the Vols.