The Tennessee Volunteers had an easier time in their home opener Saturday than they did in their season opener Monday.
After opening the game with 28 unanswered points, the Volunteers finished the game with a 42-7 victory over the Indiana State Sycamores. The win gives Tennessee a 2-0 record for the second year in a row. It’s also the fifth time since 2010 that they have gotten off to a 2-0 start.
The Vols offense amassed 395 yards on Saturday afternoon. 235 of them came through the air, as the pair of Jarrett Guarantano and Quinten Dormady averaged 7.8 yards per attempt. Dormady was the better of the two QBs, going 13-18 through the air with 194 yards and two touchdowns. Guarantano completed 4-12 passes for just 41 yards, but did have a touchdown.
Guarantano and Dormady threw passes to nine different receivers. John Kelly led the way with five receptions for 60 yards. Brandon Johnson, Jeff George and Marquez Callaway each caught touchdowns in the blowout win.
The aforementioned Kelly also starred on the ground. The junior tailback ran for 80 yards on 18 carries, good for 4.4 yards per attempt. Kelly’s 80 yards were exactly half of the 160 yards gained by Tennessee backs Saturday afternoon.
Defensively, the Vols had little trouble. The lone touchdown of the game was scored by Jacquet McClendon. The Sycamores tight end scored his touchdown early on in the 3rd quarter on a 23-yard reception. Apart from that, however, it was an easy day all things considered.
It’s hard to take too many lessons away from an FBS-FCS game. The good news is that the Vols gained some confidence as they head into the annual battle against the Florida Gators next week. That one, as always, should be a treat.