KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Texas A&M’s John Chavis has established himself as one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation, but the only statistic that matters to him are the numbers on the scoreboard.
“We won the ballgame, so any time you win, it’s a good game,” Chavis said Monday, when asked for his thoughts on the Aggies’ 45-38 double-overtime win over Tennessee. “Our kids played hard, their kids played hard, so you make sure you give them credit.”
The No. 9-ranked Vols (5-1, 2-1 SEC) rolled up 684 total yards of offense, the third-most in program history behind the 718 yards accumulated in a 55-48 win over Troy in 2012 and 695 in a 59-31 victory over Kentucky in 1997.
Vols quarterback Josh Dobbs passed for a season-high 398 yards against the Aggies, but he also fumbled twice and was intercepted on two occasions.
Chavis — whose defense forced 7 turnovers, including a game-clinching interception in the second overtime — had strong praise for Dobbs in particular.
“He’s obviously a great player,” Chavis told SECcountry.com on Monday. “He’s very smart, just a very intelligent young man, and he has a great grasp of their offense.
“He’s as good of a field general as we’ve played against.”
Chavis said Dobbs’ gift for making plays sets him apart.
“Dobbs is very patient when he runs; he doesn’t panic,” Chavis said. “He sees the field very well and he knows where defenders are at. That’s not easy to do when you have people trying to tackle you.
“He’s a strong kid, you better come at him with something when you try to tackle him, or he’ll get away from you.”
Texas A&M very nearly let a win get away after leading 28-7, but Chavis’ defensive call in the second overtime had safety Armani Watts in perfect position to make the game-winning play and deny the Vols another storybook, come-from-behind victory.