Be sure to check back to see what the IT staff has to say about the Tennessee game each Saturday this fall.
Randy Moore's thoughts
As expected in the wake of a disappointing loss to Florida, Tennessee came out flat against Akron. The surprise was how long the Vols stayed flat. They were tied at 23 till the 6:47 mark of the third quarter and didn't put the game on ice until Tyler Bray's 19-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter bumped the lead to 40-26 with 9:01 left. Bray bounced back from an early pick-six to throw for 401 yards. Rajion Neal ran hard for the second week in a row en route to a 151-yard rushing performance. Hunter got open on a regular basis but Zach Rogers had a couple of drops, including one that would've produced a 36-yard touchdown. The defense allowed just three second-half points but was lame overall, allowing pass-happy Akron to move the ball at will for three quarters and average roughly 5.0 yards per carry. Derrick Brodus made four of four field goals, Michael Palardy did a good job on kickoffs and Matt Darr punted twice for a 41-yard average, so the kicking game was refreshingly good.
Special Teams: A
Danny Parker's thoughts
Putting up 633 total yards, holding a confident MAC school to three second-half points and Derrick Brodus banging all nine kicks are what stick out to me in the 47-26 win over Akron.
Skill players were rolled much more often and the offensive staff even got Alex Bullard and Marcus Jackson spelling Ja'Wuan James and Antonio Richardson in the trenches. That's vital experience going forward into a treacherous stretch of games against formidable Southeastern Conference foes.
Five different quarterbacks — Tyler Bray, A.J. Johnson, Justin King, Alton Howard and Justin Worley — saw the field. That tells me that offensive coordinator Jim Chaney is striving for more ways to keep the ball on the ground.
Defensively, the Volunteers were a mostly different team the final two quarters. The three interceptions were all important in their own way. However, the Zips showed a continued, glaring weakness defending crossing routes. When teams spread Tennessee out and are not being greedy pushing the ball down the field, they're having consistent success.
Who's this No. 42 and where has he been? Brodus banging true all five extra points and four field goals is as bright a spot as the Vols could hope to have with a road trip to Athens, Ga., looming.
Special teams: A-
Chris Price's Thoughts
Tennessee let Akron hang around for way to long. You don't let underdogs hang around like that in less you want to end up on SportsCenter. The defense played very lackluster in the first half and the offense couldn't finish in the red zone.
The Vols pulled away in the second half because Akron started this game with a half tank worth of gas. Tennessee did not play a very good football game. They just beat a lesser team.
There was obviously a lack of motivation heading into this one, whether it was a hangover from Florida, looking ahead to Georgia or just thinking they were that much better than Akron it was inexcusable.
The lone bright spot was Derrick Brodus who was perfect on PATs and field goals on the night, but Michael Palardy tainted the special teams with a kick off out of bounds.
Special Teams: A-
Josh Woodward's Thoughts
Well what do expect, Tennessee is coming off a tough loss against Florida and not a motivated football team this Saturday. They did what they had to do to get the win and head to Athens against the best team they have faced all year. Akron was a well coached team that at times out coached the Vols, exploiting the new defense and making the offensive line miss assignments.
On offense Tennessee racked 633 total yards, but the offensive line still has some issues against a much smaller defensive front. I liked the way the backs ran the ball tonight, they are a shoe lace away from being a good unit. The receivers made some plays and it was good to see Jacob Carter get a touchdown catch. Brendan Downs got his first action of the season after injuring his kneecap and got himself a touchdown catch. Short yardage is still the killer for this team, it something they need to continue to work through.
On defense the it was the tale of two halves, the defense gave up 23 first half points and locked down in the second half to only give up 3. They have to get more pressure when in the nickel package as they get picked apart when the quarterback has time. When the did get pressure the Akron quarterback made mistakes and Bryon Moore grabbed two interceptions and Eric Gordon had a nice interception on a tipped pass.
Special teams looked good with no missed PAT's or field goals and coverage was solid on kicks. Devrin Young looked good on returns, but did have one fumble that bounced back up to him on a kick off. Matt Darr was solid punting the ball with an average of 40.5 yards on two punts. Not to much to complain about on special teams against Akron.
Defense: First Half C-/ Second Half B+
Special Teams: A