The Tennessee Volunteers may still be looking for their first conference win, but their win over Memphis gets the Vols back on the winning track, a track the Vols haven’t run in six weeks.
The Volunteers overpowered their lesser in-state opponent Memphis in almost all statistical categories
Tennessee fans may have been wooed by the Volunteers 50-14 victory over the Memphis Tigers (1-8, 0-7 C-USA) Derek Dooley was not, saying his Vols performed to expectations.
“We did what we should do,” Dooley said. “It was a good win, it has been a while since we got a win.”
True freshman quarterback Tyler Bray showed promise in his first start. The young Vol eclipsed 300 yards in the first half on his way to a (STATS) game.
“He played well, obviously,” Dooley said. “We had 300 yards and five touchdowns in the first half, but we outmatched them on the perimeter too.
Lets don’t get too excited. He did what he should have done.”
Bray effectively spread the ball to seven different Tennessee receivers, five scoring snagging Touchdown passes. Denarius Moore was the most productive collecting 103 yards and a touchdown.
Bray would not throw the complete game however; Matt Simms would come on for the clean up duties in the third quarter.
After mediocre showing against the South Carolina Gamecocks Vols runner Tauren Poole remerged with a big game against the Tigers. Poole galloped for 101 yards and a touchdown.
“My biggest thing was just bouncing back,” Poole said. “Hopefully when I see the film (I’ll see) I did a lot better.”
As much as the Tennessee offense shined, equally as much can be said for the Volunteers defense who forced five turnovers in the game.
“We got turnovers, which is what we have been needing all season,” Dooley said. “When we get turnovers, like any team, we play well.
“We hit the runner a few times and he coughed up the ball. We hit the quarterback and got a couple of picks.”
One interception came from recently converted defensive tackle Malik Jackson. The former USC Trojan seems to be improving every week at his new position.
“He played well,” said Dooley. “I think he is playing better every week. He is our best guy.”
Despite nervousness about center-quarterback exchange Derek Dooley pulled the trigger and started freshman James Stone. Dooley couldn’t have been happier with young man’s performance.
“The happiest thing to me about today was that we didn’t have a fumbled snap, I mean that,” Dooley said. “James went in there and performed well.”
Running back Tauren Poole was impressed Stone’s play. Poole got an up close and personal look at the new center Saturday night.
“I didn’t see his man make a play all day,” Poole said. “James is real smart, he knows the offense and I hope he continues to go forward from here.”
After out-matching Memphis the Volunteers must now shift their focus to grabbing an SEC win. The Volunteers will need to flourish in November in order to keep their hopes alive for a bowl game.
Dooley and the Volunteers begin preparations for homecoming and the Ole’ Miss Rebels Monday afternoon.
Offensive lineman Zach Fulton left the game in the first half with an ankle injury forcing JerQuari Schofield back into the lineup following his own ankle injury.
Luke Stocker left the game following a helmet-to-helmet blow. Derek Dooley said Stocker suffered a concussion as a result of the hit. Tight end Mychal Rivera stepped in and grabbed two catches totaling 20 yards in Stocker’s absence.