Tennessee defeated Western Carolina 55-10 on Saturday. The Vols dominated both sides of the football and held on to the momentum for the entire game.
Here are four things we learned from the Vols’ Week 3 win.
- We still don’t know much: FCS matchups won’t improve your ranking, just ask Auburn. You’re supposed to win these games by a big margin and the Vols did that. However, it is not like this win validates a team as a contender. There’s more harm that can be done by not beating a FCS opponent by a large enough margin. Tennessee’s win boosted its confidence, which is important leading into a Week 4 matchup at Florida. But it really doesn’t answer the skepticism that arose with the disappointing loss to Oklahoma. The Vols looked more capable on offense and defense than the previous week. But again, this was a huge difference in competition level and the SEC opener next week will provide a better example of where the team stands in 2015.
- Preston Williams is ready: Williams didn’t have a catch in his first two college games, but that changed with a big performance in Week 3. The freshman led the Vols with 98 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Tennessee still hasn’t found a true No. 1 option at wide receiver. There’s plenty of talent, but the team doesn’t seem to have a go-to player. Williams made his case Saturday for a role in Tennessee’s passing offense. Whether he becomes “the guy” is still up for debate, but he definitely showed signs of his blue-chip potential.
- LaDarrell McNeil is back to full strength: McNeil sustained a neck injury during fall camp that — as a senior — was expected to end his college career. Instead, he made his season debut Saturday and it almost included a touchdown on a 57-yard interception return. McNeil provides a veteran presence on an otherwise young Tennessee defense.
- Future looks bright with Dormandy: Freshman Quinten Dormady entered the game late in the second quarter — (don’t worry, Vols fans, Josh Dobbs is fine) — and looked sharp on his passes. He went 6-of-8 for 93 yards and a touchdown while earning the approval of his coach.
"I was really, really excited about the play of Quinten Dormady." Butch Jones.
— Paul Fortenberry (@Volquest_Paul) September 20, 2015
Jones: "Quinten's had a very, very good training camp. He's had very, very good habits."
— Dustin Dopirak (@TennesseeBeat) September 20, 2015
Like everything else, Dormady’s performance should be viewed with caution. Sure, a four-star prospect is expected to play well against a FCS defense. But still, given his limited playing time at the college level, his performance deserves praise regardless of his competition.