At the end of the third quarter, the much-maligned Vol rushing game had 100 yards on the ground, and Vol freshman QB Justin Worley had more passing yards than the Razorbacks’ veteran gunslinger Tyler Wilson.
But the score at that point was Hogs 35 Vols 7.
It was all about big plays.
Looking for something to build on, Derek Dooley wasn’t afraid to put it on the shoulders of freshman QB Justin Worley. Delivering passes to 9 different receivers, Worley racked up 291 passing on a 23-for-33 performance. Da’Rick Rogers was Worley’s favorite target, getting 9 grabs for 137 yards, including a 47-yard TD strike.
Obvious kudos go to the defense for the shutout, only the third since 2003 (the last being last year’s 50-0 opener against UT-Martin), and the first on Homecoming since the blanking of Okie State in 1995.
Concerns still rain down on the running game. Against a poor team, it was atrocious, with only 120 net yards on 45 carries. That’s a 2.7 yards per carry clip.
The most entertaining part of the evening was the 6:10 pm call to a frat house to round up a place kicker in a pinch.
It took Alabama 34 minutes to score their first TD of the evening, thanks to an aggressive and effective first-half Tennessee defense, not to mention a punter’s passing prowess. But for the fourth time this season against an SEC opponent, the Vols got burned early in the second half to lose hard-fought momentum.
Another season is about to begin. Optimism rides high as it usually does across the Volunteer state. That’s what makes anticipation of each season a special time of year.
But, some of the August predictions (pardon the pun) from fans that I’ve been reading have a whiff of peyote. Remember, the majority of starting slots on this year’s squad are filled with freshman and sophomores.
Memories of the Flaming Sophomores of 1928?
Tennessee 50 UT Martin 0
4 Sep 2010 | Neyland Stadium | 99,123
“Here’s a farmer that hanged himself on th’ expectation of plenty.”
William Shakespeare said that.
“The joy of the present is the known of the past; the terror of the present is the unknown of the future.”
I said that.
Saturday’s thumping of the hapless UT Martin Skyhawks was the first shutout by the Vols since 2003’s 48-0 whipping of Vandy. That’s the joy of the present in the known of the past – wow, we haven’t done that in seven years! We’re on fire!