Tennessee beat UMass on Saturday, September 23, but it was not the victory the Vols or any of their fans expected one week after losing to Florida. Instead, winless UMass arrived at Neyland Stadium and gave Butch Jones’ Vols everything they had in a 17-13 Tennessee win.
• That’s it. A fourth down incompletion gives the Vols the ball with 22 seconds left. The Vols … survive.
• UMass stops Tennessee on third down, forces Vols to punt with just more than 1 minute remaining. Minutemen gets the ball on its 15 with 1:09 to play with their backup QB in who is 1-of-2 passing.
• UT holds UMass and takes over at its 20 with 3:47 left in the game.
• The Vols go 3-and-out and UMass has the ball on the Tennessee side of the field with less than 5 minutes to play.
• After a 42-yard UMass run to the Tennessee 38, the Minutemen are forced to punt after a sack and penalty. Vols have the ball at their own 11 with 6:58 left in the game.
• John Kelly has 19 rushes for 87 yards and a touchdown with 10:51 in the fourth. He had 19 carries against Florida last Saturday.
• JarrettGuarantano has remained in at quarterback. Quinten Dormady has his helmet on the sideline, so he isn’t out because of injury.
Third Quarter, Tennessee 17, UMass 13
• Jarrett Guarantano and John Kelly fumble the ball on a bad exchange as the time runs out in the quarter.
• Backup quarterback Jarrett Guarantano enters the game for the first time at the 2:41 mark.
• UMass scores on a 13-yard pass from Andrew Ford to Sadiq Palmer to finish a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Tennessee leads 17-13 with 2:51 left in the third.
• Tennessee kick Aaron Medley makes a 40-yard field goal to push the Tennessee lead to 17-6. UMass takes over on the 25-yard line with 7:32 left in the third.
Second Quarter, Tennessee 14, UMass 6
• Tennessee QB Quinten Dormady hits Tyler Byrd with 8-yard TD pass with 25 seconds left in first half, capping a 9-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Vols up 14-6.
• UMass QB Ross Comis runs for a 5-yard TD on an option keeper, one play after Coach Butch Jones was called for unsportsmanlike conduct during the timeout. UMass misses the extra point, 7-6, with 2:57 left in the half.
• Junior tailback John Kelly broke loose for a 12-yard TD run one play after Johnson’s big gainer, putting the Vols up 7-0 with 4:33 left in the second quarter.
• Vols QB Quinten Dormady hit Brandon Johnson with a 66-yard gain to the UMass 12 on third-and-8 from the 22. Johnson ran a post route and gained more than half that yardage after the catch. It’s the longest offensive play of the season for Tennessee.
• Tennessee junior college transfer Alexis Johnson picked a good time to make his first career sack, dropping UMass QB Andrew Ford on a third-and-3 at the UT 43, forcing a punt at 6:17 mark.
• Tennessee punter Trevor Daniel with a 53-yard punt that bounces out at the UMass 2-yard line represents the Vols’ highlight to this point. Still scoreless with 9:58 left in the second quarter.
• Tennessee senior graduate transfer Shaq Wiggins didn’t start, but he is seeing most all the action at cornerback with senior Emmanuel Moseley not in the game.
First Quarter, Tennessee 0, UMass 0
• Tennessee kicker Brent Cimaglia misses a 45-yard field goal. The game is tied at 0. UMass takes over on the 27 yard line.
• Tennessee starting offensive line LT Drew Richmond, LG Venzell Boulware, C Coleman Thomas, RG Trey Smith and RT Brett Kendrick. Boulware starts in place of Jack Jones at left guard.
• Starting center Jashon Robertson will not play against UMass. He is being held out as a precautionary measure and is expected to play next Saturday against Georgia. Coleman Thomas will start in Robertson’s place.
• Junior defensive tackle Shy Tuttle will not play against UMass with an ankle injury.
Tennessee-UMass live updates, score
Tennessee-UMass game time, information
Time: Noon, ET
Date: Saturday, Sept. 23
Location: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
TV: SEC Network
Line: Tennessee (-27)
Figuring out the offense
Tailback John Kelly will carry UT’s offense as much as humanly possible, but offensive coordinator Larry Scott must also keep explosive Ty Chandler on the field in some capacity while also developing young perimeter targets Brandon Johnson, Josh Palmer and Tyler Byrd. Quarterback Quinten Dormady’s arm and decision-making will need to prove worth the mobility the Vols are sacrificing by keeping talented but raw redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano on the bench.
Keep it simple
Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop might have to simplify his defense a second consecutive year if senior middle linebacker Colton Jumper doesn’t prove athletic enough to stay on the field. Sophomores Daniel Bituli and Quart’e Sapp are playmakers, but they might not be ready to handle the sort of quarterbacking on defense that Shoop’s defenses require when they are at their best (Magic Show). Safety Nigel Warrior is a rising star, but he’ll need to rely on fellow safety Micah Abernathy to step up his game significantly. The Vols defensive line needs to be more than just adequate moving forward.
Fourth quarter comeback
The Vols rally in the fourth quarter should not be overlooked or forgotten. The players’ efforts were impressive, and the coaches adjustments were worthy. Coach Butch Jones’ teams have developed a reputation for playing until the final whistle and showing resilience, hence the come-from-behind wins last season and at Georgia Tech. The three missed field-goal attempts and red zone execution at Florida were abysmal, however, even if it was a result of several inexperienced players not handling their first road test.
The Vols are 12-3 in home games since the start of the 2015 season and 20-9 at Neyland Stadium under fifth-year coach Butch Jones.
Vols vs. non-conference
Tennessee has won 10 straight games against nonconference opponents under Jones, dating back to a 31-24 double-overtime loss against eventual College Football Playoff team Oklahoma in 2015.
The Vols are missing seven players who were projected starters entering the 2017 season to injury: MLB Darrin Kirkland Jr., SLB Austin Smith, WLB Cortez McDowell, SS Todd Kelly Jr., OT Chance Hall, WR Jauan Jennings, KR Evan Berry.
Blake Morgan’s pick: Tennessee 42, UMass 7
The Vols jump back into the win column, overwhelming UMass with talent after last week’s heartbreaking loss.
Mike Griffith’s pick: Tennessee 45, UMass 14
Tennessee will go back to its uptempo offense and call its regular offense and defense throughout the game, even with several young players seeing action.
Dustin Dopirak’s pick: Tennessee 35, UMass 10
The Vols will have a hangover after the Florida loss, and the injury to linebacker Cortez McDowell doesn’t help. The Vols have the talent to roll, but not sure how impressive they’ll be.