[title_box title=”Biggest takeaways from Tennessee’s shutout win over North Texas”]
On most Tennessee football Saturday’s, a 24-0 shutout of the opposing team is nothing for fans to complain about.
But considering that Saturday’s game featured a homecoming matchup between the Vols and a North Texas team that now sits at 1-9, people had a right to wonder what happened with Tennessee’s offense.
The Vols came into the game as a whopping 42-point favorite, but they fell short of that feat by a wide margin.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the victory:
Joshua Dobbs is still in recovery mode following a hard stretch of the 2015 season.
After facing an intimidating defense at Alabama, running all over Kentucky, and doing just
enough to put his team ahead of South Carolina, Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs had a very mediocre day against North Texas. He went 15-for-23 for 136 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Dobbs ran for a whopping total of three yards. Granted, most fans will reason that offensive coordinator Mike DeBord held tight reins on his play-calling in order to keep his best players healthy. One can still say without a doubt, however, that a Tennessee offense without Dobbs on the move is a Tennessee offense that looks very inept.
While the Vols’ run game didn’t involve much of the usually-proficient quarterback, it did involve Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara.
The Vols have a bright future in the backfield.
Hurd, usually the bruising front runner, stepped to the side on Saturday to allow his younger counterpart to receive more of the spotlight. The sophomore running back still posted an impressive showing, carrying the ball 15 times for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Saturday was Kamara’s time to shine. He punched in Tennessee’s first touchdown in the first quarter and added one later, finishing with 127 rushing yards.
Backup quarterback Quinten Dormady showed a bit of hope for the future, going 3-for-5 for 36 yards passing. Both quarterbacks spread the ball around quite well.
Tennessee’s defense is beginning to look special.
Though the defense has struggled against some of the SEC’s heavier competition, it stepped up its game against the Mean Green. Whether the lack of yardage for North Texas’ offense can be attributed to poor field conditions is not nearly as relevant as the fact that the Vols’ defense posted its first shutout of the season. Tennessee also held the Mean Green to just under 200 yards of total offense. While it allowed a few big plays, Tennessee’s defense looked as strong as it has all season. That’s a good sign for next week, as the Vols will face a Missouri offense without suspended quarterback Maty Mauk.
Tennessee will face the Tigers Saturday in Columbia at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Edited by Cody McClure
Sports editor Jake Nichols has been part of the TNJN staff in two different capacities. His freshman and sophomore years, Jake worked as a staff writer before moving on to write for Rocky Top Insider, and he also worked with VFL Films and the SEC Network for a semester his junior year. When asked the summer before his senior year to return to TNJN as the sports editor, Jake jumped at the chance to end his time in Knoxville working with the organization he first began with as a freshman. Jake is excited to help lead younger writers, much like former editors Cody McClure and Jordan Dajani aided him. Jake also does freelance sports coverage and photography for The Mountain Press in Sevierville, Tenn., and in his spare time, he can be found with family, his girlfriend or driving his Jeep, most likely with his Canon in tow. Be sure and follow Jake on Twitter and Instagram at @jnichols_2121, and keep up with TNJN Sports on Twitter as well!