After a shockingly close first half, the Tennessee Volunteers out scored the Akron Zips 24-3 in the second half for a 47-26 victory. There was a lot to like, and a lot to dislike in this game for all parties.
Offensively Tennessee gained 633 yards. 633 yards! That’s the first time since 2004 that the Vols have done that. That’s a heckuva number. I don’t care that it was Akron, that’s getting it done. The Vols averaged 7.1 yards per play. Rajion Neal averaged 6.9 yards per rush, and was the first Tennessee back in a long long time to crack the 150 yard barrier. Marlin Lane averaged 5.2 yards per carry. You might be saying “Yeah, but that was Akron.” And that would be a fair statement, but last year the Vols played and defeated Montana, Buffalo, and MTSU and never even came close to that number. It’s also good to note that eleven different receivers caught a pass. Brendan Downs, and Jacob Carter each made their single catch count as they both got their first career TDs.
Akron has an explosive offense, coming into the UT game averaging over 39 ppg. Take away Tyler Bray’s pick 6, and Neal’s fumble in his own territory, and the Vols held the Zips to just 16. Also Tennessee’s red-zone defense was incredible, keeping Akron out of the endzone on each trip.
It was tied at halftime! The Vols were tied at halftime! I’m sorry, that’s bad. It took until the 9 minute mark of the 4th quarter for the Vols to get up 2 scores.
Tennessee turned the ball over twice in the first quarter. It’s never good to turn the ball over, but especially against a team like the Zips, Tennessee needed to jump on them early, and demoralize them. I call that the Tiger Woods effect. He knows he’s better than you, and you aren’t gonna catch him.
The fact that I am excited that Tennessee didn’t miss a PAT.
The way I felt from 7:30 pm until about10:15 when UT finally went up 40-26. Akron shouldn’t make Tennessee fans feel that way.
Also, and I know gambling isn’t legal, but I have lots of Akron friends, and I may, or may not have been spotting the Zips 33. Oof.