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RECAP: Vols beat Bowling Green 38-6

Tennessee wins its 2021 season opener

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

It wasn’t always pretty, but Tennessee still got the win. The Vols beat Bowling Green 38-6.

Tennessee started out hot, featuring new Head Coach Josh Heupel’s high-tempo offense en route to two touchdowns in 20 plays on its first two drives.

New starting QB Joe Milton was sharp early, completing nine of his first 11 passes for 95 yards in just the first quarter. But he did the early scoring damage with his legs.

It’s tough to complain about an 81-percent completion figure, but Tennessee fans saw first-hand some of the issues that followed Milton from Michigan. Sometimes he throws it too hard, and sometimes he’s inaccurate on the deep ball.

Tennessee marched straight down the field on its second drive of the game. The Vols started on their on 33 and used five passes and six runs before Jabari Small capped off the drive with a one-yard TD run.

Tennessee absolutely dominated the game’s first quarter. The Vols accumulated 159 total yards and converted four of its five third-down attempts. But whatever momentum the Vols had in the first quarter was snuffed out by Bowling Green in the second quarter. BG scored six points in the second period to Tennessee’s none, and the Vols mustered just 13 total yards on its only two second-quarter possessions. Then at halftime, it seemed like Tennessee made some adjustments.

The Vols started the second half with an eight-play, 72-yard touchdown drive in which all eight plays from scrimmage were runs. Small, Tiyon Evans and Milton each had successful plays on the ground, and Milton finished the drive with his second running TD of the game. Sorry in advance for the quality of the video — my computer just does this sometimes.

The Vols never really looked back after that TD coming out of halftime. Evans scampered in for a 19-yard TD later in the quarter, while the Tennessee defense held BG to just 46 total yards in the third period.

Joe Milton finally connected on a deep ball in the fourth quarter when he heaved up a pass that Cedric Tillman made a great play on in the end zone. That was Milton’s only completion in the second half — he went just 1-8 throwing the ball after halftime.

Small and Evans proved to be an effective one-two punch in the backfield as they both eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the game. Jalin Hyatt led the team in both catches and targets, with four and nine, respectively. Milton was strip-sacked in the fourth quarter for Tennessee’s first turnover, and then it looked like there were issues on the center-QB exchange that counted for the Vols second giveaway of the game.

It’s worth noting that Hendon Hooker took 4Q snaps once Tennessee took out its starters. It seems Harrison Bailey is the Vols’ third-string QB, for now.

Folks were most excited to see Tennessee’s new offense, but the defense played pretty well at times, too. The Vols were pretty disruptive and notched 11 tackles for loss.

Tennessee didn’t cover the 37-point spread, and you made money if you took the under.