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Halftime Report: Running Backs Galore, Vols Blanking Sycamores

Tennessee freshman running back No. 3 Ty Chandler warms up before the Vols’ 42-41, double-overtime win against the Yellow Jackets on September 4 in Mercedez-Benz Stadium. — Nick Davis/FOX Sports Knoxville

Things have gone about the way we expected them to so far against Indiana State, and the Vols hold a 28-0 lead over the Sycamores at halftime. Some stats of note:

  • Quinten Dormady is 10-of-12 for 123 yards and touchdown.
  • John Kelly has rushed nine times for 48 yards, Ty Chandler three times for nine yards, and Carlin Fils-aime has stolen the show with three carries for 41 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

 

  • Indiana State managed just 126 yards of offense and seven first downs against the Vols’ defense.

With Marcus Tatum out, the Vols’ offensive line has pretty much done what it’s needed to in the first half. Drew Richmond whiffed on a block that led to a big hit on Jarrett Guarantano, but both quarterbacks have generally had time to throw and the backs have had holes to run through.

On the other side of the line, the Vols’ defensive line hasn’t been bad, but hasn’t produced a ton of backfield pressure, either. Indiana State’s most successful offensive drive went just 30 yards, and Tennessee has held the Sycamores to 0 for 6 on 3rd down. Daniel Bituli has shown up again, but Colton Jumper and Cortez McDowell were beaten on poor angles against the many wide runs from Indiana State.

Quinten Dormady has looked solid on short and medium-distance throw, but missed poorly on two throws deep to Josh Palmer, who was open both times. His touchdown pass to Brandon Johnson late in the half was a beauty, though.

 

How about special teams? Freshman Ty Chandler took the opening kickoff to the house and Marquez Callaway has shown plenty of spark on punt returners. Aaron Medley has booted every kickoff out of the endzone for a touchback, while Trevor Daniel had a beauty of a 59-yard punt.

 

Jarrett Guarantano made an appearance on a few drives, but was limited to mostly handoffs. He had a nice pass to Jeff George dropped on third down, but otherwise hasn’t had much of a chance to show out. That should change in the second half.

Like I said up top, this about what we expected from this game. Some turnovers or backfield stops will give the defense an even better feeling on the day, and it’ll be nice to see Guarantano and young skill guys Chandler and Fils-aime compete in the final two quarters.

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