The freshman revolution hasn’t started yet for the Tennessee Volunteers, just ask A.J. Johnson and Cameron Sutton.
The Volunteer defense faced a stiff task in containing Heisman trophy hopeful Chuckie Keeton and the Utah State offense. In Keeton’s last full season, after suffering an ACL injury last year, he compiled 3,992 total yards with 35 touchdowns. Sunday night, he was held to less than 150 yards passing and only 12 yards rushing.
The combination of Johnson and Sutton were seemingly all over the field, whether that involved taking offensive players down behind the line of scrimmage or picking Keeton off.
On offense, quarterback Justin Worley showed why Butch Jones had confidence in him as a starter this season. Worley’s final stat line had him at 27 of 38, 71 percent, with 273 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers.
Also on offense, running back Jalen Hurd had his first touchdown as a Tennessee Volunteer after he put moves on defenders and took a screen pass to the checkerboard. Hurd didn’t have a great night on the ground averaging around 2.5 yards per carry, but he looked good in space and will only get better over time.
Wide receiver Von Pearson also shined after seemingly catching everything thrown his way. Some of his passes were waved off because of penalties on other players, but his 14-yard catch and go for a touchdown stood. Pearson put on a move that Vols fans haven’t seen since Cordarrelle Patterson and blazed past a defender on the score.
While this is only the first game of the season, the Utah State Aggies are a team that was 9-5 last year, including a bowl win. The Vols look faster as a unit, and fans are getting their usual case of September optimism, possibly for the right reason this year.
Edited by Maggie Jones