Tennessee (3-1) turned in an abysmal performance against UMass (0-5) at home on Saturday. The Minutemen managed to keep up with the Vols, and had multiple chances to take home the win. However, Tennessee fought off UMass and managed to win in disappointing fashion, 17-13. Although the Vols struggled as a whole, here are the players that earned helmet stickers this week.
1. John Kelly, running back
Once again, Kelly managed to separate himself as the heart-and-soul of the Vols. He rushed for his third 100-yard game of the season and scored a touchdown on Saturday. Kelly has been one of the few bright spots on the Vols offense, and finally hit the 20-carry mark for the first time this season against the Minutemen. The fact Kelly was playing well into the third quarter against UMass is sad, but the junior out of Michigan logged yet another impressive performance.
2. Brandon Johnson, wide receiver
Johnson seemed to be the favorite target of starting quarterback Quentin Dormady this week. He tallied a career high in both receiving yards (123), and receptions (7), against the Minutemen. Johnson now leads Tennessee in both receptions and receiving yards on the season. Although it’s troubling that Marquez Callaway was only targeted once the whole game against UMass, Johnson stepped up in a big way for the Volunteers offense.
3. Tennessee’s defensive line
The most improved unit for Tennessee so far is easily the defensive line. It was expected that the Vols defensive line would have a big day against the Minutemen offensive line that gave up 23 sacks heading into the game. However, the week-to-week development has been very evident. The Tennessee defensive line mustered seven sacks and had continued pressure on the quarterback for all 60 minutes of the game.
4. Colton Jumper, linebacker
With the recent injury of Cortez McDowell, the depth at linebacker for the Vols has been depleted. However, Jumper stepped up against UMass after struggling in his first three games this season. Jumper tallied four tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles-for-loss against the Minutemen’s struggling offensive line. He will need to continue to be an impact playmaker on defense for Tennessee to make up for its injury woes.
5. Trevor Daniel, punter
In one of the most dreadful performances from the Volunteers offense in recent memory, it was almost impossible for Daniel not to stay busy. Still, Daniel punted eight times for 391 yards and an average of 49 yards per punt against UMass. Eight punts are the second most he has logged in his career, the most coming against Alabama in 2016. The Dickson, Tenn. native downed four punts inside of the 20-yard line and had a long punt of 56-yards against the Minutemen.
Edited by Ben McKee
Feature image courtesy of Knoxville News Sentinel