On Thursday, Tennessee started the season off by defeating Bowling Green 38-6 in Neyland Stadium. During the game, Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton and defensive back Theo Jackson were two of the most talked-about players.
Milton went 11/23 for 140 yards and one touchdown in the air and ran 14 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns.
On the flip side, Jackson was the most active player on the defense all night. The senior DB led Tennessee with 11 tackles, six of which were solo tackles. He also added in 2.5 tackles for loss and three pass breakups.
After the game, the two Tennessee players met with the media to discuss their play and game thoughts.
“I love it,” Tennessee QB Joe Milton said about playing in an up-tempo offense. “It’s just all about playing into space. And when you have a guy like me who can do it all, it’s all about the execution part of it.”
Milton certainly showed a range of tools on Thursday, although some more than others. Milton’s pure strength and power, in both throwing and running, were on display all game. However, he did struggle with his deep accuracy, even when connecting with Cedric Tillman for a 40-yard touchdown. But ultimately, the second part of his statement does ring the truest, and the quarterback’s execution will need to improve. Milton will need to reign in some of his throws, knowing how valuable medium and long-range passes are in the Heupel offense.
But, regardless, it’s only been one game, which was a win. And in that win, Tennessee scored more points than they had in the last 679 days (Oct. 26, 2019). So while it is the first game in the Heupel era at Tennessee, it does essentially mean that some of the wrinkles are still being ironed out.
Head coach Josh Heupel also met with the media on Thursday after the game, saying that Tennessee “can be a whole lot better,” even after beating their opponent by 32 points.