Let’s be honest – everyone is still processing what they saw on Saturday. Tennessee looked like they were dead in the water on more than one occasion, but the Vols somehow managed to win their first road SEC game against a team other than Vanderbilt or Kentucky since 2007. Much has been written about Joshua Dobbs since then and he’s been the recipient of a ton of awards and national praise.
Here are five impressive stats from Dobbs’ performance which help lend some historical context to both the type of game he had and the immense promise he has shown thus far.
Comeback Win After 14-point 4th Quarter Deficit
The Vols trailed by 14 points with 4:52 to play. Tennessee had never trailed by such a margin so late in a game and emerged victorious – by that measure, this was Tennessee’s most dramatic comeback win in history. The 14-point 4th-quarter comeback also ranks as the third-largest 4th-quarter comeback in the history of the program. In 2005, the Vols trailed LSU by 17 in the 4th quarter only to win in overtime. Tennessee trailed Vanderbilt by 15 in 2007 before winning by one. The Vols also trailed by 14 in the fourth against Alabama in 1984 and came back to win.
Dobbs’ poise under pressure, perhaps more than anything, sparked the historic victory. He was 10-15 for 130 yards and a pair of touchdowns on Tennessee’s last two drives of regulation. Croom was at least his third read on the touchdown that tied the game with 11 seconds left. He remained composed on that play, made his reads on the run and fired a laser to Croom to tie it. Dobbs’ ability to keep his cool and elevate his game in his first start of the season will go down in history as one of the best Vol performances of all time.
166 Rushing Yards
Joshua Dobbs put up the most rushing yards of any Vol player in a game this season. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, his 166 yards rushing set a school record for a quarterback. This wasn’t an isolated incident, either. Last week he single–handedly put up more rushing yards against Alabama than they came into the game allowing. He’s now averaging a team-high 120.5 yards rushing per game this season and has recorded a run of at least 30 yards in five of his seven career games. Dobbs has 241 yards rushing this year, just 76 yards away from Tee Martin’s 1999 season total.
344 Rushing Yards
Dobbs’ legs not only sparked the offense, they opened up things for Tennessee’s other weapons. Jalen Hurd had his most productive day of the season with 125 yards rushing. As a team, the Vols rushed for 344 yards – the most rushing yards for Tennessee against an SEC team since 1994. Without Dobbs, there’s no way the Vol ground game puts up those numbers. Increased production on the ground wasn’t a fluke, either. Tennessee’s 184 rushing yards last week against Alabama nearly tripled what the Tide came into that game allowing on the ground. More records could fall next week when Tennessee faces the 13th ranked rushing defense in the SEC (Kentucky).
467 Total Yards
That’s an astronomic number of yards. In fact, Dobbs’ 467 yards of offense rank 4th all-time. That mark is the most by a Vol in an SEC game since Peyton Manning threw for over 500 yards against Kentucky as a senior in 1997. His 301 yards passing were the most since Tyler Bray was throwing darts (and beer bottles) for the Vols in 2012.
Dobbs’ ability to attack a defense in a variety of ways caught the attention of former NFL scout Bucky Brooks.
He had this to say about Dobbs: “From his pinpoint passing skills from the pocket to his slick execution of the Vols’ quarterback running game, Dobbs capably executes the traditional and movement-based concepts that are prevalent in today’s game. Dobbs displayed the patience, courage and awareness to hang in the pocket under duress to deliver accurate strikes to his pass-catchers on the perimeter. Yet, Dobbs also showed the elusiveness and agility to flee the pocket when creases opened along the interior.”
QBR of 84.4
QBR is a stat ESPN developed and, though it has its flaws, it’s a good measure of what a QB does with both his legs and his arm. It is calculated on a scale of 1-100, with 50 being average. This stat, more than most, really captures how special Dobbs has been through seven quarters this season. Dak Prescott, considered by many to be the favorite to win the Heisman, has a QBR of 81.7. Joshua Dobbs has a QBR of 84.4 through two games. In fact, his QBR would rank 6th nationally among qualified players.
Yes, he’s only played in two games. Yes, he has a ton of room to grow and develop. But it’s tough to not be amazed by how well he’s performed thus far. There’s no denying it –Dobbs’ numbers put him in elite company, both among today’s elite quarterbacks and great Vol QBs of the past.