KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s dominant 55-0 win Saturday over Tennessee Tech should provide some salve in the locker room, if not among the Vols’ hungry fan base.
Few things are healthier in a locker room than when a team is able to clear its bench and get reserves playing time, and Butch Jones was pulling starters in the second quarter with a 28-0 lead.
Here’s a look at the Vols’ stock market report:
Josh Dobbs was 12-of-13 passing for 183 yards and three touchdowns. Jones could have left Dobbs in to pile up the yards, but he wisely pulled his starting quarterback in the second quarter to give backup Quinten Dormady much-needed reps.
John Kelly had seven carries for 104 yards and a touchdown, including his explosive 73-yard scoring run. By contrast, Jalen Hurd’s longest run this season was 28 yards, and Alvin Kamara’s is 36.
Marquez Callaway had a 62-yard punt return for a TD. The freshman appears intent on keeping Tennessee’s special teams playing special.
Tennessee had to start its sixth different offensive line combination of the season, and the Vols’ front was as dominant and as impressive as it was supposed to be against an FCS opponent.
Carlin Fils-aime had eight carries for 27 yards and two touchdowns. Fils-aime, a true freshman, was solid but his longest run was only 8 yards and he missed some cutback lanes. Fils-aime has strength despite his size (5-10, 175), and should get better with more reps.
Nigel Warrior showed his open-field tackling skills with two fourth-down stops in the second half, but the true freshman will need more time in the film room before he approaches his potential. Warrior has the makings of a future star.
Kicker Aaron Medley booted a 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and a 19-yarder before halftime.
Tennessee’s schedule strength took a hit with Texas A&M losing at Mississippi State (35-28) and Florida losing at Arkansas (31-10).