Vols celebrate homecoming with 45-10 win

Tennessee defended its home turf versus neighbor UT-Chattanooga in front of 93,097 on Saturday. Check out how the game was won with the report below.

Justin Worley threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores Saturday as Tennessee ended a three-game skid with a 45-10 victory over Football Championship Subdivision program Chattanooga.

Johnathon Johnson had the first two touchdown receptions of his career, a 21-yarder in the final minute of the second quarter and a 19-yarder in the opening minute of the third period. Worley also threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marquez North. The senior quarterback went 19 of 24 for 198 yards passing.

Worley was the first Tennessee quarterback to rush for two touchdowns in a game since Casey Clausen in a 45-17 Florida Citrus Bowl triumph over Michigan on Jan. 1, 2002.

The victory gave the Volunteers (3-3) momentum before a demanding midseason stretch. Tennessee visits No. 3 Mississippi, hosts No. 7 Alabama and visits South Carolina over the next three weeks.

Chattanooga (3-3) had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Tennessee entered this game attempting to boost a rushing attack that ranked last in the Southeastern Conference and seeking more production from an offensive line that had allowed 18 sacks, the most in the SEC. In that regard, the Vols came up short.

The Vols gave up five more sacks Saturday, and one of them resulted in a fumble that led to Chattanooga's first three points of the game. Tennessee also rushed for only 123 yards on 42 carries, though Jalen Hurd carried the ball only twice while he recovers from a shoulder injury and Marlin Lane sat out the game with an ankle injury.

Tennessee withstood the offensive line's struggles Saturday because Worley threw the ball well and A.J. Johnson led a suffocating effort on defense. Chattanooga didn't get a first down until its sixth series of the game, and the Mocs already trailed 17-0 by then.

The first sign that Tennessee would end its skid came when it won the coin toss, ending one of college football's most improbable streaks. Before Saturday, Tennessee had lost its last 11 game-opening coin tosses. The Vols had lost 12-straight coin flips overall, including one that occurred prior to overtime in a loss to Georgia last season.

Tennessee deferred after winning the toss but forced a three-and-out and took an early 7-0 lead when Cam Sutton's 42-yard punt return set up Worley's touchdown pass to North.

The Vols broke the game open early in the second quarter.

After the Vols extended the lead to 10-0 on Aaron Medley's 25-yard field goal with 14:22 left in the half, Richardre Bagley fumbled a handoff on Chattanooga's next play from scrimmage and Tennessee's Derek Barnett pounced on the loose ball at the Mocs' 20. The turnover set up an 8-yard touchdown run from Worley, who bounced off Chattanooga safety Cedric Nettles on his way to the end zone.

Chattanooga's defense helped get the Mocs on the board late in the second quarter. Keionta Davis sacked Worley and forced a fumble that Josh Freeman recovered at the Tennessee 27 to set up a 27-yard field goal by Henrique Ribeiro.

Worley bounced back on Tennessee's next series by engineering a 71-yard drive that culminated in a 21-yard touchdown pass to Johnson with 15 seconds left in the half. Worley found Johnson in the end zone again early in the third quarter after Evan Berry opened the second half with a spectacular 68-yard kickoff return.

Tennessee extended the lead to 38-3 on Worley's 1-yard touchdown run, which was set up by Justin Coleman's 53-yard interception return. Chattanooga scored its lone touchdown on Bagley's 14-yard run with 6:38 remaining.

Butch Jones postgame presser


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