Tennessee football’s 59-3 victory over UConn was lacking drama Saturday afternoon. The Vols scored on the second play from scrimmage and never looked back in the lopsided victory.
Amidst the lopsided victory, Tennessee football made program history.
The Vols’ scored three defensive touchdowns against UConn marking the first time in program history Tennessee’s defense scored three touchdowns in one game.
The first defensive touchdown came late in the first half when UConn ran a receiver screen. Gabe Jeudy-Lally punched the ball out and Tyler Baron picked it up, strolling into the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown.
“Tyler Baron’s, I can’t remember exactly how that unfolded, but he did a nice job sweeping it,” Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said postgame. “Glad he got in the end zone, he’s been close a couple times.”
Tennessee took a 35-3 lead into the half and its defense quickly went to work to open the second half. Kurrot Garland hit UConn quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson as he threw on the second play of second half and Jaylen McCollough intercepted it and strolled into the end zone for a pick six.
It took the Vols just six more plays to find the end zone as James Pearce Jr. pressured Roberson and linebacker Aaron Beasley stepped in front of the pass and beat Roberson to the corner for a 39-yard pick six.
The two second half defensive touchdowns happened before Tennessee’s offense stepped on the field in the third quarter.
“It changes the way the second half unfolds,” Heupel said of the two plays significance. “The opportunity for us to get a lot of our younger guys in the football game early in the third quarter with what they were doing offensively draining the clock, there wasn’t a lot of opportunities as the game unfolded late to get your roster in the football game.”
Tennessee has been recording stats at football games since 1949. The Vols’ win over UConn was the first ever time they’ve scored three defensive touchdowns in the same game. It was also the first time Tennessee’s totaled two pick sixes in the game since 2013 when Cam Sutton and Justin Coleman both had pick sixes against Western Kentucky.
On the season, Tennessee now has four defensive touchdowns. They’ll look to continue that success next week when they travel to Missouri to face the twelve-ranked Tigers.