First Look: Tennessee

Volunteers' vaunted rushing attack could lead to a shootout in Knoxville

In the season opener against Bowling Green, the Tennessee Volunteers put up 59 points in the school’s first victory as a ranked team since the end of the 2007 season.

Most of the total – the most since 2009 season opener – came in the first half, and almost all of it came on the ground by way of the Volunteers’ two-headed backfield monster, one that would leave most teams in the nation envious.

6-foot-4, 240-pound (with speed) sophomore Jalen Hurd scored three times in the first half, and Alvin Kamara averaged almost 10 yard per carry, while scoring twice.

“They feed off of each other,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones told the media after his team’s victory Saturday. “The great thing about them is they're selfless. When one scores, we all score.”

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs even carried it 12 times. All three players are listed at more than 200 pounds.

The No. 25-ranked Volunteers will be waiting in Knoxville with a loaded offense that put up more than 600 yards in the season opener.

That doesn’t mean Tennessee (1-0) is invincible by any means. Led predominantly by its passing attack, Bowling Green ran up 557 yards of total offense on the Volunteers. The shootout stayed even until Tennessee pulled away in the second half.

Immediately after Oklahoma’s victory against Akron, the Sooners’ coach Bob Stoops said his team has to improve.

“We’ve got to make a big jump from now to next Saturday going to Tennessee,” he said. “I think as much as anything start better. But it’s been a good group in how they’ve practiced. They’ll realize as they watch tape some of the things they can improve on, some of the foolish penalties. We’ve got to eliminate those and play in a smarter and better way next week.”

A major game and a shootout is expected between two top-25 programs in Knoxville on Saturday.

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