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5 Observations: Tennessee 42, Indiana State 7

The Vols cruised to a 42-7 victory over Indiana State in their home opener for the 2017 season. Several of Tennessee’s backups and younger players found playing time in this game, and Tennessee used their match-up with an FCS opponent as a tuneup for their SEC opener against Florida next weekend.

Here are our five biggest takeaways from Tennessee’s rout against Indiana State.

The Quarterback Battle Might be Over

Quinten Dormady made a couple bad mistakes in this game, but he looked markedly better in Tennessee’s offense than Jarrett Guarantano did. Granted, Guarantano had a few of his passes dropped, but Dormady looked more comfortable and confident in the pocket than Guarantano did.

Everything from this game needs to be taken with a large grain of salt, but Dormady looked like the better quarterback in this game. This doesn’t necessarily mean the quarterback competition is completely over, but Dormady should be the definite starter against Florida next weekend. Dormady finished 13-of-18 for 194 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Guarantano was just 4-of-12 for 41 yards and a touchdown he tacked on late in the fourth quarter.

Special Teams is Still Special

Ty Chandler took the opening kickoff 91 yards for a score, marking the 11th time a Tennessee player has scored a return touchdown in the Butch Jones era. Not only that, but Trevor Daniel put in another solid game as Tennessee’s punter, booming a 59-yard punt while averaging 47.8 yards per punt. Three of Daniel’s four punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, and he had at least two downed inside the 10. Marquez Callaway also ripped off a 36-yard punt return. Aaron Medley was a perfect 6-of-6 on point afters too as well.

Ty Chandler is Also Special

Freshman Ty Chandler’s first major action as a Vol got him noticed in a big way. He took the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, and he looked more than capable as a running back as well, carrying the ball four times for 14 yards. Chandler wasn’t used a great deal in this one, but he showed enough in his limited action to make Vol fans salivate at his potential.

Brandon Johnson Emerges as No. 2 Option

Marquez Callaway burst onto the scene last week against Georgia Tech, and he took his only catch in this game for a 37-yard touchdown, giving him three on the year already. But Tennessee may have had a viable No. 2 target emerge behind him in this game.

Sophomore Brandon Johnson caught four passes for 50 yards and a touchdown, hauling in a 19-yard score from Quinten Dormady in the second quarter. Johnson had the second-most receptions in the game for the Vols, trailing only John Kelly’s five catches. Tennessee needs another pass catching weapon besides Callaway, and Johnson could be just that guy.

The Offense is in Trouble Next Week

Tennessee’s offense certainly didn’t look bad against Indiana State, but there were enough mistakes made and enough missed opportunities to cause come concern for Vol fans anticipating Tennessee’s match-up with Florida next weekend.

The Vols have yet to face a defense like Florida’s this season, and the offense hasn’t looked sharp through the first two weeks. Florida’s defense may not be as great as it has been the last couple years, but it will definitely be the best defense the Vols’ offense has faced this season. Sloppy play and mistakes will be much more costly against the Gators.

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One Response

  1. One of the things that great coaches and players have pointed out over the years is how teams will play down to their competition. The first string only played 18.5 minutes against Tech and then today second string and third were in by the second series on offense. I do see the mistakes, but I just think you haven’t watched enough football to appreciate this isn’t uncommon for a team of players playing together for the first time. What I saw was a team beat a very difficult Tech team with only a third of the plays it will get against a typical SEC East opponent. Mistakes happen at every level, but good teams find the wins. Humans make mistakes and to expect 22 18-21 year olds over 3.5 hours not to do so isn’t realistic.

    I understand, like many in your profession, you base your articles and ideas on comparing the best performances to everyone else. If I compared every article of yours to those that came before you that had long, award filled careers how do you think this article would hold up? Your intention was to simply convey your opinion and you didn’t explain your comparison, or how you arrived at your opinion, so I cannot address that. My fear is more and more writers, like yourself, offer opinions to the “casual fan” and they take them as if you had spent a career as a division 1 coach. I’ve never seen your qualifications, so I cannot write to your ability or even your comprehension in regards to football theory, history, and execution other than what you watched on TV, or what you read written by someone like yourself.

    This is simply a mere average, educated fan that has watched the age of 24/7 news drastically deteriorate the quality of coverage by replacing it with quantity of coverage. The long manta of capitalism has been that compitition is good, but I must admit I find that to be false in the modern so called “news era” when everyone are experts.

    I hope you have a long an illustrious career, sir. Its not my intention to disrespect you in any way, rather, my hope is to begin a debate about what’s more important. Is it more important to get a click to make money, or is it more important to truly inform the reader like so many amazing wtiters that came before you. Best wishes to you and your company, sir.

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