Recap: Tennessee vs. Western Ky
Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) - Butch Jones earned his second win as head coach at Tennessee as the Volunteers cruised to a dominating 52-20 victory over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Neyland Stadium.
Jones, who came from Cincinnati, and his Volunteers (2-0) were led by Rajion Neal who rushed for 74 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries, while Marlin Lane added 97 yards and a score on 16 attempts.
Justin Worley completed 11-of-19 passes for 142 yards, one touchdown, and one interception and Johnathon Johnson was Tennessee's leading receiver with 57 yards on just two receptions. Brendan Downs had just one catch for one yard and touchdown.
Head coach Bobby Petrino suffered his first loss with the Hilltoppers (1-1) after more than a year away from coaching following his dismissal from Arkansas.
Western Kentucky was led by Antonio Andrews who managed 207 all-purpose yards, including 111 rushing yards on just 13 rushing attempts. Leon Allen managed to run for 52 yards and a score.
WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty struggled mightily, completing 17-of-34 passes for only one touchdown and five interceptions.
WKU opened up the game with a 14-play, 55-yard drive that lasted over seven minutes and ended with a 37-yard field goal by Garrett Schwettman. It was all down hill from there as the visitors turned the ball over on each of their next five drives (three interceptions, two fumbles). The five turnovers came in a span of six plays for the Hilltoppers and took place inside their own 40- yard line.
Tennessee took advantage of all five WKU miscues. Justin Coleman and Cameron Sutton each had interceptions which they returned for touchdowns, measuring 23 and 36 yards, respectively. Hilltopper fumbles by Keshawn Simpson and Andrews, along with another interception thrown by Doughty, resulted in a 23-yard field goal from Michael Palardy, a one-yard touchdown run by Neal, and an eight-yard touchdown run by Lane which put Tennessee up 31-3.
After 31 unanswered points from the Volunteers, Allen ran in a one-yard touchdown for WKU at the 6:47 mark of the second quarter. Doughty threw his fourth interception on what looked like a promising drive for the Hilltoppers shortly thereafter, but the WKU defense managed to block a Tennessee punt inside the Volunteer 10-yard line to set up six-yard touchdown pass from Doughty to Norris. The touchdown cut the score to 31-17 just before halftime.
The Vols answered back in the second half with Neal running in a one-yard touchdown less than two minutes into the third quarter.
Schwettman knocked through a 33-yard field goal midway through the period, leaving the Hilltoppers to a 38-20 deficit.
After a seven-yard touchdown run by Neal and a one-yard touchdown pass from Worley to Downs, the Volunteers cruised to the 32-point triumph.
WKU tallied 393 yards of total offense compared to 382 yards by Tennessee, but the Hilltoppers' seven turnovers are what cost them in the end.
The FBS record for consecutive drives resulting in a turnover is seven, held by Florida State.Game Notes