Tennessee overcame an early two-touchdown deficit and defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 45-24 in the Battle at Bristol.
The Hokies dominated the first quarter, edging the Vols in yards (204 to 28), first downs gained (nine to one) and points (14-0). Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans opened the scoring with an impressive eight play, 62-yard Hokie drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Sam Rogers. After forcing a quick three-and-out, Virginia Tech wasted no time scoring again, as running back Travon McMillian scored on an impressive 69-yard touchdown run.
Momentum shifted to the Orange and White sideline in the second quarter after the Vols forced a fumble, which was recovered by safety Micah Abernathy at the Hokie five-yard line. Tennessee capitalized on the opportunity, as quarterback Josh Dobbs threw a five-yard fade to Jauan Jenning in the end zone on the first play after the turnover.
After connecting for a long touchdown against Appalachian State last week, Dobbs found Josh Malone for another long touchdown to tie things at 14 with 9:42 to go in the first half. Kicker Aaron Medley drilled a field goal and gave Tennessee a 17-14 lead, and then the Vols added five-yard touchdown run by Dobbs put the Vols up 24-14 at halftime.
In the second half, a lack of ball security prevented Virginia Tech from chipping away at the Tennessee lead. The Vols finished with five fumble recoveries on the evening, three of those recovering belonging to Abernathy, a Tennessee single-game record.
After receiving criticism for not involving running back Alvin Kamara last week, the Vols’ offense finally unleashed Kamara in the passing game. His 23-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter was the captain’s first touchdown of the season. Dobbs’ later sealed the deal with a 27-yard touchdown run, his fifth score of the game (three passing, two rushing).
Edited by Nathan Odom
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics