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Tennessee RB Dylan Sampson Was Available But ‘Flow of the Game’ Changed Plans

Dylan Sampson
Tennessee running back Dylan Sampson against Virginia. Photo via Tennessee Athletics

One of the questions coming out of Tennessee’s 29-16 loss to Florida on Saturday night revolved around the status of running back Dylan Sampson.

The versatile 5-foot-11 sophomore had 14 touches in week one against Virginia and collected four touches in week two against Austin Peay. Sampson did not see any action during Tennessee’s week three loss to Florida due to the way the game ended up playing out.

Vols head coach Josh Heupel confirmed that Sampson was active for Tennessee’s game and that the staff had plans to use him but circumstances on both sides of the ball changed things along the way.

“He’s been a little nicked up but he was available,” Heupel said on Monday. “We had plans of having him in the rotation and I think on both sides of the football the flow of the game, in particular in the first half, probably we didn’t rotate the way we anticipated going into the football game and probably as much as we needed to, too.”

Tennessee ended Saturday’s game with 100 total yards on the ground which is the lowest ground output from Tennessee since the 27-13 loss in Athens to Georgia last season. The Vols had been averaging 220 yards on the ground per game through the first two contests.

The running back room combined for 98 of Tennessee’s 100 rushing yards as Jaylen Wright had 63 yards on 16 carries and Jabari Small had 35 yards on seven carries.

Quarterback Joe Milton added six yards on five carries, wide receiver Bru McCoy had two yards on one carry, and the team combined for negative six yards elsewhere to reach 100. The duo of Wright and Small also accounted for 25 percent of Tennessee’s receptions on the day with five.

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Florida took the lead over Tennessee at a 12-7 game with nine minutes and 28 seconds left in the second quarter and didn’t give it back for the remainder of the night. In fact, seven minutes and six seconds later, Florida’s lead had ballooned from five to 19 points at a 26-7 game. Tennessee’s offense was forced to work from behind which likely took Sampson’s carries away.

The sophomore from Baton Rouge, Lousiana emerged on the scene as a productive freshman for Tennessee’s record-setting offense in 2022 with six touchdowns and 397 yards on 58 carries. The former SEC Freshman of the Week (at Vanderbilt, 11/26/22) has a total of 10 touchdowns in just 12 games played at Tennessee.

Sampson, who has been clocked as one of Tennessee’s fastest players at 23.0 MPH, switched numbers from 24 to 6 over the course of the offseason. Sampson’s four total touchdowns are also the most on the team excluding anyone named Joe Milton III (six passing, three rushing).

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One Response

  1. Why Dylan Sampson not getting his time on the field….He have showed the team and everyone else the talent he has.He has proven that.

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