Tennessee’s defense has been one of the main talking points through the first two weeks of the Vols’ football season.
As quarterback Joe Milton and the offense look to make some important early-game adjustments moving forward, Tennessee’s defense has looked the part and taken care of business against both Virginia and Austin Peay.
The Vols’ defensive efforts are showing up on the early-season stat charts, too.
Tennessee’s defense is currently tied with Nebraska for the most sacks in the nation with 11 through two games.
Sophomore James Pearce Jr. and senior Tyler Baron both recorded two sacks each in the Virginia game to kick off the season. Then, in the Austin Peay game, Aaron Beasley recorded two sacks while Wesley Walker, Tyler Baron, Kurott Garland, Joshua Josephs, and James Pearce Jr. each found one sack against the Governors.
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The Vols sit atop the nation in total tackles for loss, too. Defensive coordinator Tim Banks’ unit has been impressive in their ability to attack the quarterback or the ball carrier quickly into the play. Tennessee leads the nation with 25 total tackles for loss.
Tennessee has several players that have recorded a tackle for loss considering the team is averaging 12.5 per game at the moment. That includes LB Aaron Beasley (6), DL Tyler Baron (3.5), EDGE James Pearce Jr. (3.0), S Wesley Walker (2.5), DT Omari Thomas (2.5), S Tamarion McDonald (1.5), CB Gabe Jeudy-Lally (1.0), DT Kurott Garland (1.0), EDGE Joshua Josephs (1.0), DL Jayson Jenkins (1.0), LB Elijah Herring (0.5), S Jaylen McCollough (0.5), DL Tyre West (0.5), and DL Bryson Eason (0.5).
Tennessee’s unit sits just inside the Top 30 for total defense at No. 29 in the country. The Vols’ defense has allowed 540 yards per game which works out to an average of 3.88 yards per play. Tennessee’s defense has only allowed two touchdowns on the year with one coming in the third quarter against Virginia and Austin Peay’s in the fourth quarter with nine minutes remaining.
Tennessee Defensive Stat Leaders (Through Two Weeks):
- Solo tackles: LB Aaron Beasley – 9
- Assisted tackles: LB Elijah Herring – 7
- Total tackles: LB Aaron Beasley – 12
- Tackles For Loss: LB Aaron Beasley – 6.0 for 25 yards
- Sacks: DL Tyler Baron – 3.0 for 11 yards
- Interceptions: Kamal Hadden – 1
- Pass break ups: Kamal Hadden – 5
- Quarterback hurries: James Pearce Jr. – 3
- Fumble recoveries: CB Warren Burrell – 1
Stats courtesy of NCAA’s official website.