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Tennessee’s Defense Steps Up, Vols Get First SEC Win Of The Season


It’s early in the college football season to call a game a “must win,” but for this Tennessee team, they needed it. The Vols came out with a mindset of wreaking havoc on the Mississippi State offense and they succeeded. The Vols had seven sacks on the day and forced Miss. State into multiple interceptions.

Unfortunately for the Tennessee offense, starting quarterback Brian Maurer took a nasty-looking spill in the first half. Coach Jeremy Pruitt said postgame that Maurer had suffered a concussion.

Jarrett Guarantano was needed again and Tennessee didn’t shy away from its game plan to run the football. The plan seemed to be working since Miss. State couldn’t put a sustainable drive together for most of the game.

The defense was motivated from the start, holding Bulldogs running back Kylin Hill to 13 yards rushing on the day. The secondary was all over the field with three interceptions. One came from Trevon Flowers, who unfortunately was diagnosed with a broken leg, according to JPruitt.

Nigel Warrior and Kenneth George, Jr. also got in on the fun, with interceptions that stalled out Miss. State drives, which seemed to be a common theme on this Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, with Flowers going down, this Vols defense will need to continue building up some depth before heading to Tuscaloosa next week.


Tim Jordan had 59 yards on the day and Ty Chandler finished with 63 yards. Tennessee has to continue running the football if they are going to have progression the rest of the season. But, with an offensive line that continues to grow and should return some players over the next few weeks, they are working towards that goal.



Darrell Taylor had two sacks and four tackles. Daniel Bituli was all over the field for the defense, but he also had help from a defensive line that has struggled at times this season. If you’re a Vols fan, seeing the pressure the defensive front was putting on the QBs should put a smile on your face. They were a force to be dealt with from the opening drive.

If you’re looking for the feel good story of this game, look no further than Tyler Byrd. The young man has been battling for playing time for the past three seasons and it finally paid off today. Byrd had three receptions for 56 yards and dealt Miss. State the final blow with his catch and run for a 39-yard touchdown.


This win was coming and Tennessee had to figure out a way to put four quarters together with a combined effort. It came on Saturday and this team will take it. It’s not going to be an easy road ahead, but if Tennessee can continue bringing this kind of fight, they can achieve more than some expected just five weeks ago.

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