Bray's first throw of the night was a 47-yard TD strike to Da' Rick Rogers. Bray's second throw resulted in an 81-yard catch/run score by Justin Hunter with 8:36 remaining in the first half. Bray added a third touchdown strike, a 9-yard toss to Marlin Lane, less than two minutes into the second quarter.
The only other Tennessee quarterback to throw two or more TD passes in seven consecutive games was the legendary Peyton Manning. With two or more scoring throws in Game 2 versus Cincinnati, Bray would become the first quarterback in Vol history to throw multiple-TD passes in eight consecutive games.
Handling the hype
Hunter got a lot of hype as a freshman last fall after scoring touchdowns on seven of his 16 receptions and averaging a whopping 25.9 yards per catch. Apparently, he's going to pick up in 2011 where he left off in 2010.
Hunter finished Saturday's opener with career highs for catches (6) and receiving yards (146). In fact, he surpassed his previous career best for receiving yards (114) by halftime, posting 118 yards on three grabs.
Fellow sophomore Da'Rick Rogers also established career bests for receptions (five) and receiving yards (100) in the opener. He and Hunter are the first Vol duo to crack the 100-yard receiving barrier in the same game since Lucas Taylor (118) and Austin Rogers (112) did so vs. Southern Miss in 2007.
Dynamic dozen frosh
An even dozen true freshmen saw action in the Vols' opener. They were tight ends Brendan Downs and Cameron Clear, wideouts DeAnthony Arnett and Vincent Dallas, offensive tackle Antonio Richardson, guard Marcus Jackson, tailbacks Marlin Lane and Tom Smith, linebackers A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt, defensive backs Justin Coleman and Brian Randolph.
Neal had two carries for 7 yards, two catches for 15 yards and a touchdown, plus four punt returns for 29 yards. Smith had three carries for 6 net yards. None of the receivers or tight ends recorded a catch. Maggitt registered three stops, including one-half of a tackle for loss. Johnson had three assists and one-half of a TFL. Randolph was credited with one tackle. Coleman had a pass breakup but also got burned on an 80-yard touchdown catch/run.
Maggitt (strong side) and Johnson (weak side) were the first rookie linebackers to start for Tennessee since the NCAA restored freshman eligibility in 1972. Coleman also started, becoming the first freshman defensive back to start for the Vols since Eric Berry in 2007.
'T' foiled by lightning
Because of the inclement weather, the Vols failed to run through the 'T' for just the second time since the tradition was originated against Army on Sept. 18, 1965, a span of 301 games. The other time was against Marshall on Sept. 23, 2006, following a 55-minute storm delay.
The 93-minute postponement of Saturday night's kickoff represented the longest weather delay in Neyland Stadium history. The second-longest was a 70-minute first-quarter delay last fall vs. Oregon.
Taking the long road
The 96-yard second-quarter drive that produced Tennessee's third touchdown was the longest since a 97-yard march vs. Memphis in 2006.
Art of the pick six
Art Evans' 37-yard interception return for touchdown in the third quarter was Tennessee's fifth "pick six" in the past 14 games. Prentiss Waggner had TD returns vs. UT-Martin, UAB and Ole Miss last fall, and Eric Gordon also had a pick six vs. the Rebels.
No place like home
Tennessee has won 17 consecutive home openers and now stands 91-18-5 all-time in debuts on The Hill.