For the fourth time in five years, the Vols are off to a 2-0 start with the conference season looming. We review Tennessee's 42-7 win over Indiana State with The Day After.
HOT AND NOT
John Kelly – The running back had 23 touches for 140 yards. Kelly's 47 touches on the season is far and away the most on the team, and he's quickly shown he's Tennessee's most important player.
Trevor Daniel – Daniel again was a weapon, averaging 47.8 yards a punt and pinning Indiana State inside the 20 yard line on three of four punts. In two games, Daniel is averaging just over 47 yards a boot.
Marquez Callaway – Callaway only had one catch on Saturday, but it went 37 yards for a touchdown. Callaway now has three scores this season on five receptions. All five of his receptions have gone for either a touchdown or a first down.
The defensive edge – Tennessee's defensive ends, outside of Kyle Phillips, had a tough afternoon setting the edge on the Indiana State jet sweeps and they couldn't get to the quarterback on the pass rush. Darrell Taylor was created with a half tackle for loss and Tennessee's lone sack of the season was from Deandre Johnson, who recorded it in the next to last play of the game. In two games, the defensive ends have yet to show they can come close to replacing Derek Barnett's production .
Maxim one – On Monday night, Maxim 1 was the key to the win over Georgia Tech. In the season opener, the Vols didn't have a turnover and only had two penalties. Saturday in its home opener, Tennessee turned it over twice offensively and had four first half penalties.
Covering the tight end – Bob Shoop's defense only allowed 93 yards passing as the quarterbacks completed just 9 of 19 passes. Five of those nine receptions went to tight end Jacquet McClendon, who had 63 yards and a touchdown. Tennessee's linebackers and safeties had a hard time covering the tight end.
1. Chandler to the house – After an emotional win Monday night and a short week of preparation, everyone wondered if the Vols might be a little flat emotionally and a little sluggish. Freshman Ty Chandler answered that question by taking the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown.
2. Brandon Johnson touchdown – It was Johnson's first-career touchdown and it was big as the Vols look for more playmakers, but that's not why the play was a defining moment. It was a big play because it was a Quinten Dormady check. Dormady audibled the protection and audibled the route for Johnson. It's a play that shows why Dormady is the starter.
3. Signing day the last four years – Simply put, the Vols were just more talented. They have better football players and that why the outcome of the game was never a question.
4. Shy Tuttle's return – You won't find anyone in the program who's not on cloud 9 for Tuttle's return to football. The defensive tackle has worked countless hours to return from last season's knee injury that left some wondering if he could make it back this year. His return is huge for a defensive interior that has had very little rotation of personnel the first two games this season.
BY THE NUMBERS
3 – The number of touchdown catches this season by Marquez Callaway. Callaway has five total catches this year. He now has touchdown catches of 37 yards and 50 yards this season.
47 – Number of touches by John Kelly in the first two games. Tennessee has run 126 plays this season and 47 have gone to the junior running back. Kelly is the Vols leading rusher and leading receiver in receptions
0 – Number of big plays allowed on Saturday. The Vol defense gave up zero plays of 30 yards or more. That stops a streak of 14 straight game that an opponent has had a play of 30 yards or more.
0 – The number of third down conversions allowed by Bob Shoop's defense.
Quinten Dormady threw a bad redzone interception, but the junior quarterback looked more comfortable on Saturday as he went 13 for 18 for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dormady made a check and a big time throw to Brandon Johnson for a touchdown.
The junior from Texas was by no means perfect, but he made a step from game one to game two and is Tennessee's starter next week against Florida.
BIGGEST CONCERN/QUESTION MOVING FORWARD
The biggest concern is the line of scrimmage for the Vols. With a 160 yards rushing, the Vols had a solid day on the ground but not a great day. Tennessee's offensive front gave up a sack and gave up seven tackles for loss. Defensively, Tennessee had 11 tackles for loss, but four of them came in the last two possessions. The only sack came from Deandre Johnson in mop-up duty.
Next week, it's into the SEC slate and it becomes all about the line of scrimmage. Can the Vols win in the trenches against conference competition? In two games Tennessee has given up 657 yards on the ground in two games while rushing for 308 yards.
Having a full week to get ready is big for the Vols as it will give them time to recover. Defensive line coach Brady Hoke again went with a very small rotation along the defensive front. Can they play a third straight game that way, particularly if there's afternoon heat and humidity to deal with next week?