Akron Game ‘One Of Chippiest’ Josh Heupel’s Been Apart Of

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    Tennessee Pittsburgh

    Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel against Pittsburgh. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

    Josh Heupel was unhappy with the officials as Dylan Sampson strolled into the end zone to stretch Tennessee’s lead to 28-0 in the first half of the Vols’ lopsided win over Akron.

    Akron’s KJ Martin drilled Hendon Hooker below the knees after the quarterback pitched the ball to Sampson on the speed option.

    Hooker barked with Martin after the play happened with left guard Jerome Carvin coming in to back him up. Postgame, Hooker pointed to heated competition and nothing intentional on the play.

    “It’s football,” Hooker said. “Defensive guys play really aggressive. Offensive guys play really aggressive. It happens. You never know what’s going on. Guys might just be finishing through the whistle. That’s what they’re taught.”

    The hit below the knees was one of many Tennessee offensive players took from Zips in the win. Akron hit Hooker late a handful of times and hit Cedric Tillman low as he came down with a catch in the first quarter.

    Tillman fell to the ground quickly holding his knee. The star receiver stayed on the ground for a few minutes before walking to the sideline on his own power. Tillman did not return to the game.

    “There were a few low hits tonight,” Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel said postgame. “You don’t know in this game what happened. I say that meaning what’s the extent of it. As I went over he started getting up.”

    The game was extremely chippy from the first quarter on with both teams combining to commit 20 penalties.

    More From RTI: Four Quick Takeaways As Tennessee Rolls Akron

    Tennessee receiver Jimmy Calloway was ejected for punching Akron cornerback No. 28 four times in the helmet and trash talk was consistent between Akron’s offense and Tennessee’s defense.

    “It was one of the chippiest games that I’ve been apart of and certainly that we’ve been apart of here,” Heupel said.

    That chippiness continued into the postgame where Akron quarterback DJ Irons and a handful of Tennessee defenders were chirping. Tennessee’s lopsided, 63-6, victory was surprisingly full of drama between a handful of injuries and the chippiness.

    Tennessee receiver Jalin Hyatt talked about the need for the Vols to be smarter as they move into SEC play.

    “We have to do better,” Hyatt said. “We have to do better as far as the penalties we had. We had some penalties that we should not have had. Like I said, if we want to be what we want to be at the end of the year, we have to minimize those penalties.”

    Tennessee remained aggressive offensively after its starters exited the game early in the third quarter. Backup quarterback Joe Milton fired a pair of long touchdown passes— one for 57 yards and another for 38 yards.

    The Vols return to the field next week when they face arch rival Florida inside Neyland Stadium.

    Ryan Schumpert is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. Ryan spent three years with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program before joining RTI. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.

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