Tennessee Tops the SEC in Multiple Key Categories

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    Tennessee SEC

    Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

    After wrapping up their game on Saturday against South Carolina, the Tennessee Volunteers have officially hit the halfway point of the season.

    The Vols’ offense has been a standout this year, with five of six games going for 34 points or more this season. In Tennessee’s last two games, the team has scored 107 points against SEC competition. When Josh Heupel took over the head coaching job at Tennessee, the offense was expected to be turned around. But as of late, the offense has been going into overdrive.

    However, it hasn’t just been the offense. Tennessee’s defense has outperformed many initial expectations under the command of defensive coordinator Tim Banks. After six games, Tennessee ranks sixth in the SEC in opponent’s points per game.

    Currently, Tennessee ranks first overall in a few key categories. Additionally, the rankings do come on both sides of the ball. Four of the rankings are from the offense, one is from the defense, and one is from the team in total.

    After six weeks of competition, Tennessee ranks No. 1 in the SEC in:

    • Rushing Touchdowns (18)
    • Total Offense in SEC Games (526)
    • First Downs (154)
    • 30+ Yard Plays in SEC Games (11)
    • Tackles for Loss (52)
    • Turnover Margin in SEC Games (+5)

    Out of all 14 SEC teams, Tennessee ranks near the top in almost every offensive category. Which, in itself, is quite the turnaround from the 2020 season. The Vols are second in the SEC in total yards (2844), total plays (249) and rushing attempts (1522). Additionally, Tennessee ranks third in the conference in points per game (41.5), ruhsing yards per game (253.67), and yards per game (474).

    Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker has been one of the most vital pieces of Tennessee’s offensive success. The transfer from Virginia Tech has improved each week since taking over for an injured Joe Milton in week three. Additionally, after his performance against South Carolina, Hooker was named to the Davey O’Brien Great 8 award list, recognizing his performance.

    The Tennessee offense will face a big challenge in week seven when Lane Kiffin and the Ole Miss Rebels roll into Knoxville. The Rebels can go toe-to-toe with Tennessee on offense, and even ranks above Tennessee in some key categories. However, Heupel had a quiet confidence when speaking to the media on Monday as the team prepares for Ole Miss.

    Tennessee (4-2, 2-1 SEC) will host No. 13 Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1 SEC) in Neyland Stadium on Saturday night. The SEC Network will have the broadcast at 7:30 p.m. ET.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.