It was a thrilling weekend in college football. With player’s graduating and declaring early for the National Football League draft, the “next man up” philosophy is one every program must subscribe to. And on those fronts, Jones and his staff appear too often to still be lacking as his fifth season begins.
Tennessee played a very poor half of football, followed by an exceptional fourth quarter that saw a stagnant offense become near unstoppable by the time the Vols ultimately beat Georgia Tech 42-41 in double overtime.
Tennessee junior quarterback Quinten Dormady started and played the entire game. John Kelly had to receive the game ball for Tennessee in the win, taking his 19 carries and turning them into 128 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns, while also adding a team-high 5 receptions for 35 yards.
“I could see Rashaan and I just tried to play off him”, said Abernathy. Tennessee won 42-41 in two overtimes. In the first seven possessions, the seventh of which was the Volunteers’ first of the second half, Tennessee was 2-for-8 on third downs and had scored once, a touchdown on a short field. The combination of Callaway and Kelly carried another first-time starting quarterback in Quentin Dormady, who completed 20-of-37 throws for 221 yards and two touchdowns, but was much less efficient than this numbers showed when not throwing to Callaway or Kelly. Quarterback TaQuon Marshall connected with Qua Searcy with a 42-yard pass and Marshall swept around right end to leaving the Vols trailing 28-14 with 13:08 on the game clock.
“Marquez Callaway really sparked us, made some very, very key plays for us”, Jones said.
At the same time, other units played extremely poorly. Once this one went to overtime, you could tell it was going to be the Volunteers who would come out on top.
Georgia Tech: It will be interesting to see how the Yellow Jackets bounce back from such a crushing defeat.
Wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who left Monday’s game in the second quarter with an apparent left arm injury, could miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his wrist.
(1:29) TENNESSEE – John Kelly 11 run (Aaron Medley kick); 7-91, 3:21, 28-28. “We knew this would be a game where we had to show some resolve, some grit”.
“John’s insane”, Kamara exclaimed. Every time a member of his defense causes a turnover, that player has to take the ball and dunk it in a trash can. “He’s resilient and I expect him to have a big year”.
Kelly broke four runs of over 16 yards, while his longest was a 30-yard scamper in the third quarter. He ran through contact.
“KirVonte played great”, Marshall said.
Putting the team on his back, Kelly proved that he can be the workhorse needed to churn out tough yards and make explosive plays on the ground. Kelly was incredible. Truly, incredible. Right now, the Volunteers have a clean slate and a 1-0 record.
Listed at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds Smith is a massive man with tremendous power and mobility.
While there were plenty of Gwinnett grads on both the Tech and Tennessee rosters who made significant contributions to their respective teams Monday night, there was at least one for each team who was unavailable to do so due to injury. That play was so – that should have been a walk-in, and we screwed that up, so we didn’t deserve to win.
One of the only things the Vols learned about themselves Monday night that will have any relevance going forward is that they have inside of them a wellspring of resilience, which they will have to tap into again.