No. 25 Tennessee defeats Indiana State in home opener

No. 25 Tennessee defeated Indiana State 42-7 on Saturday afternoon in its home opener. Unlike Monday night against Georgia Tech, the Vols played two quarterbacks against the Sycamores.

KNOXVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 05, 2016 - quarterback Quinten Dormady #12 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the homecoming game between the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Hayley Pennesi/Tennessee Athletics

No. 25 Tennessee defeated Indiana State 42-7 on Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of 99,015. With the win, the Vols (2-0) are off to their fourth 2-0 start in five years under Butch Jones. From 2007-12, Tennessee managed to accomplish this feat twice.

“Today was a good win,” Jones said following the game. “I’m really proud of our players.”

It was a good day from the moment the two teams kicked off for Jones and the Vols, as freshman running back Ty Chandler returned the opening kick 91-yards to give Tennessee an early 7-0 lead. The Vols wouldn’t look back, as they led from the very first place to the very last. Following the fireworks on the opening kickoff, the Vols would go on to score 28 unanswered points.

Carlin Fils-Aime would reach the checkerboards of Neyland Stadium for Tennessee’s next two scores. With 2:49 remaining in the first quarter, Fils-Aime rushed for a 4-yard touchdown to push the lead to 14-0. The sophomore out of Florida would then extend the Vols’ lead over the Sycamores to 21-0 on a 30-yard rushing touchdown. Fils-Aime would finish with his first two touchdowns of the season and 41 rushing yards.

In his first start at quarterback inside Neyland Stadium, Quinten Dormady completed 13 of his 18 pass attempts for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Dormady’s first touchdown pass came with 53 seconds remaining in the first half. The junior quarterback hit Brandon Johnson for a 19-yard score in the corner of the end zone, extending Tennessee’s lead to 28-0 to end the first half.

Jonson’s touchdown catch was the first of his career and according to the sophomore receiver, it felt amazing. “I’ve been working for a long time and for something like this to happen is a dream come true,” Johnson said.

Indiana State (0-2) finally got on the board, four minutes and 53 seconds into the second half on a 23-yard passing touchdown from Cade Sparks to Jacquet McClendon. The Vols’ offense was in a lull for most of the third quarter, but finally awoke with 2:12 remaining. Dormady hit Marquez Callaway for a 37-yard touchdown pass, extending Tennessee’s lead to 35-7.

“I thought we did a better job today, definitely,” Dormady said of the offense’s performance following the game. “I was definitely more comfortable today.”

Dormady tossed the keys to the offense to Jarrett Guarantano for the fourth quarter. Guarantano would go on to complete just four of his 12 passes in his first action as a Volunteer. While the completion percentage wasn’t the greatest, Guarantano tossed his first career touchdown pass and racked up 41 yards. With 56 seconds remaining in the game, the redshirt freshman out of New Jersey hit Jeff George for an 11-yard touchdown to give Tennessee a 42-7 lead.

Chandler may have provided the sparks on the opening kickoff, but John Kelly had yet another great game. The junior rushed for 80 yards on 18 carries and recorded a career-high 60 receiving yards on five receptions.

Defensively, senior Cortez McDowell led the Vols with eight tackles. Emmanuel Moseley and Nigel Warrior added six tackles a piece. Freshman defensive end Deandre Johnson forced two fumbles in his first career game and recorded not only his first career sack, but the Vols’ first sack of the season.

Tennessee now heads into conference play. Next Saturday, the Vols will travel down to Gainesville to take on Florida (0-1) in the Swamp. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

Featured image by utsports.com