Tennessee drums in-state Tennessee Tech 56-0

Saturday the Vols (2-1, 0-0) took on the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech (0-3, 0-0). Although a simple look at the box score shows Tennessee rolled to a 56-0 victory, a dive into the advanced stats shows some promise, but also pretty alarming things heading into conference play next week.

From a defensive standpoint, the Vols looked solid pitching a shutout and only allowing 2.8 yards per play. Byron Young provided a boost on the D-Line, finishing the game with 6 tackles. Lining him up opposite Tyler Baron looks to be Tennessee’s best combination to rush the quarterback. Theo Jackson continued his strong start to the season, swarming to the football, providing a sack out of the defensive backfield. The Vols secondary had their best showing of the young season, as Tennessee finished the game with four interceptions. However, when the Eagles did find any of their very, very limited success, it was with Quarterback Willie Miller using his legs to find gaps in the D-Line and push the ball upfield with his legs.

If the Vols can’t improve their QB contain, and do it very fastly, next week’s trip to Gainesville to face Emory Jones and the Florida Gators could prove to be a very long day for the boys in Orange and White.

The issue with the Vols game today, is although winning 56-0, they weren’t too successful in some areas they will need to be next week in Gainesville if they want to have any chance at pulling off the upset. The most alarming issue for me, and I’m sure many other Vol fans, was the teams inability to convert on 3rd down. You cannot start 0-5 on 3rd, and finish 4-13 against a team like Tennessee Tech and have any hopes of competing in a conference like the SEC. Point blank, the Vols have to be better on 3rd down if they hope to win conference games. Tech Wide Receiver Quinton Cross also averaged 14.3 yards per reception on 5 catches. Throughout conference play, the Vols are gonna have to stop giving up explosive plays at such a high rate.

Looking ahead to next week, they will travel to take on the Florida Gators in a primetime, 7 PM kick on ESPN to open SEC play. All eyes will be on this game, and Coach Josh Heupel seems to often have his receivers running behind the defense, if the Vols Quarterbacks, whether it be Milton or Hooker, can connect on some of those, and limit the homerun plays from Florida’s offense, watch out, this could end up being a good one.

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