KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers avoided a monumental upset Thursday night, squeaking past the Appalachian State Mountaineers 20-13 in overtime at Neyland Stadium to kickstart the 2016 season.
Stay tuned for postgame updates from head coach Butch Jones.
- “A night where just about anything and everything went wrong we found a way to win.”
- “We knew it was going to be a great challenge. You don’t expect (App State) to just come in here (and lay down).”
- Jones laments Tennessee’s turnovers, poor tackling, fundamentals but again stresses, “at the end of the day we found a way to win.”
- Jones praises backup linebacker Cortez McDowell, who replaced Jalen Reeves-Maybin after the senior linebacker was ejected for targeting.
- “First game of the year is always the game of unknowns.”
- Jones attributed OL’s struggles to App State’s aggressive, multiple fronts.
- On Tennessee’s first down woes: “I’ll know more when I go back and watch film.”
- Jones very complimentary of App State’s gameplan, coaching, identity. Notes how Mountaineers “milked the clock, took the crowd out of it.”
- Jones cites Tennessees’s “habits” and “fundaments” for tackling woes — not a lack of reps in practice. However, he did say, “We have to do more tackling. They controlled the line of scrimmage.”
- “I’m never going to apologize for a win.” … “With everything that went wrong, we found a way to win.”
- Jones on CB Micah Abernathy making the game-saving play, “I thought he played very, very well.”
- Jones on Reeves-Maybin ejection: “I’m really interested in seeing it. I’ve had a number of calls from coaches who thought it was 50/50. … I’m all for player safety but this is also a senior trying to make a play.”
- “I’ve never been part of a frustrating win. … I thought our team showed a lot of resiliency.”
- Jones on Alvin Kamara’s lack of touches (just 9 total): “That’s the flow of the game.” Also again notes App State’s clock-control.
Jesse Simonton covers Tennessee football and recruiting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SECCountry.com