May 17, 2024

Tennessee rushes past Bowling Green in Nashville season opener

After being torched multiple times through the air, Tennessee finally wore out Bowling Green.

Photo by Jordan Dajani

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Tennessee’s 399 rushing yards were enough to put away a stubborn Bowling Green team, 59-30 on Saturday night. The talented duo of Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara both rushed for over 100 yards, something two running backs have not accomplished in the same game at Tennessee since 2009.

Hurd rushed 23 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns, which were all scored in the first half, while newcomer Kamara rushed 15 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Both looked unstoppable and were key reasons the Vols came out of Nashville victorious.

“If we don’t get our blocks sometimes, those guys can make it work,” said tight end Ethan Wolf. “It’s great to have them in the backfield.”

Tennessee defender Curt Maggitt racked up four tackles in Saturday's win over the Falcons.
Tennessee defender Curt Maggitt racked up four tackles in Saturday’s win over the Falcons.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs also had an impressive first performance. He completed 15 of his 22 attempts for 205 yards and two touchdowns, finishing with a quarterback rating of 176.5. Dobbs caused Bowling Green’s defense fits with his feet, as he was able to save broken plays by scrambling. He finished with 89 yards on the ground and a touchdown.

Freshman wide receiver Jauan Jennings led the Vols in receiving with 56 yards on three receptions. Wolf also had three catches for 35 yards including two touchdowns on back-to-back drives.

While Tennessee’s offense seemed to be firing on all cylinders, the same could not be said for the defense.

Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson had an exceptional day, completing 27-of- 49 attempts for 424 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Gehrig Dieter dominated the Vols’ secondary, racking up 133 yards on seven receptions including one touchdown.

Tennessee’s defensive backfield looked shaky in their first game, as cornerbacks Emmanuel Moseley, Micah Abernathy and Malik Foreman all were beaten several times down the field.

It may have had something to do with defensive backs coach Willie Martinez being suspended for the game because of an alleged NCAA level III/secondary violation that occurred over a year ago.

“Not having Martinez here hurt us from a communication standpoint,” said head coach Butch Jones. “I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it didn’t affect us at all.”

Tennessee will now turn their focus to Oklahoma. The Sooners will make their way to Knoxville next Saturday on the heels of a decisive 41-3 victory over Akron.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Photos by Jordan Dajani

Edited by Cody McClure

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Jordan Dajani is a junior journalism/electronic media major from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Follow him on twitter @JDnumba3.