Something happened during Tennessee’s 34-20 loss that isn’t common with double-digit losses to your biggest rival. Somewhere between Alabama jumping out to a 27-0 lead and the final whistle the Vols appeared to find some offensive momentum that had eluded them for most of the season against opponents with a pulse. Alabama’s defense came into the matchup allowing 13.14 points, 62.9 rushing yards and 198.7 passing yards per game, but Tennessee was able to surpass all of those numbers against the Tide, led by sophomore quarterback Josh Dobbs in his first action of the 2014 season.
Dobbs didn’t “shred” the Tide’s defense, per se, but he did provide Tennessee’s offense with a spark that it has desperately needed since the 35-32 loss to Georgia. Dobbs became the second quarterback to throw multiple touchdowns against Alabama this season and his 75 rushing yards against the Tide were more than five other teams were able to muster.
In games against Florida and Ole Miss, Tennessee’s offense only managed a total of four field goals. That’s 12 points combined in two SEC games that also saw Tennessee surrender 13 sacks and turn the football over seven times (six by the offense). Dobbs found the end zone twice against Alabama and led the Vols inside the red zone on two other drives that resulted in field goals.
With Dobbs at the helm, Tennessee’s offense has the ability to move the football and score points against any defense in the country and Saturday’s performance against Alabama proved it. The Vols will now enter into their final four games which features ZERO ranked opponents, ZERO top-35 defenses and ZERO top-30 offenses. Here’s a game-by-game look at how and why the Vols should have a better-than-average chance to finish the season at 7-5.