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Freshman RB Ty Chandler was a bright spot for Tennessee against Kentucky

He was great.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

On the surface, the absence of Tennessee running back John Kelly seemed like a big deal. In reality, Tennessee seemed to be just fine. Butch Jones and Larry Scott featured true freshman Ty Chandler against Kentucky with great success.

Chandler ran for 120 yards on 22 carries and 2 touchdowns on the night. He averaged a healthy 5.5 yards per carry. The thing is, that stat line could have really popped if not for a holding call that brought back a long touchdown run in the first quarter.

Regardless, Chandler ran hard. His speed to the edge was noticeable. He was able to beat some linebackers to the corner and turn up the field for some big chunks.

ESPN/SEC Network

I’ve got to mention Carlin Fils-Aime here, too. He was pretty effective between the tackles, running 13 times for 73 yards. Both backs produced some big plays, which Butch Jones has been pleading for as the offense struggled through October.

Right now, all we can do is look to the future. That future is at least bright at the running back position. John Kelly has some NFL buzz to him, but could very well return next season. If he doesn’t, it looks like the Vols will be alright.