Tennessee wanted things to be different.
The Vols (6-4, 3-3) hoped to get their backups extensive playing time and give their starters an enjoyable rest against North Texas in Neyland Stadium Saturday, but sloppy offensive play early didn't allow that to happen. Instead, Butch Jones' squad was happy to exit with a 24-0 win over the Mean Green to secure bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season.
The rout appeared to be on early, as Tennessee needed just 1:09 seconds to punch its opening possession in the end zone behind a 27-yard run by Alvin Kamara. Kamara turned in his best performance of the season, ending the day with 127 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
But Kamara's fireworks out of the gate weren't sustained by the rest of the offense, which mustered only 17 points before halftime against a team that ranked No. 124 in the country in total defense coming into the game. Jalen Hurd, who finished with 72 yards and a score, ran for a 1-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter and Aaron Medley added a 34-yard field goal with 2:41 to play in the half to give Tennessee a 17-0 lead.
Tennessee, which ended the game with BLANK yards on the day, iced the game away with a 15-yard Kamara touchdown rush and ushered in a mass entrance of backup players, including quarterback Quinten Dormady.
The freshman went 3-of-5 for 36 yards in limited action.
Dormady may have seen the field even sooner, but starter Josh Dobbs didn't turn in one of his better performance sin the win. The junior connected on 15-of-23 passes for 193 yards and an interception, missing badly on a couple of throws and rushing for just three yards.
Despite a lackluster offensive showing, Tennessee outgained North Texas 409 yards to 199 yards. The Mean Green were just 2-of-12 on third down conversions and threw for just 107 yards on the Vols in the loss.
Tennessee will head to Columbia to face Missouri Nov. 21.