White whips Orange, 34-7

Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer had some specific goals for Saturday's Orange & White spring game.

He wanted to see the passing attack put together a few big plays. He wanted to see the running game be reasonably productive. He wanted to see poise from the quarterbacks and decisiveness from the receivers.

To help ensure that he saw all of these things Fulmer decreed that the stop units would play base defenses with very few wrinkles.

The ploy worked. The White offense, led by No. 1 quarterback Erik Ainge, functioned pretty smoothly en route to a 34-7 victory.

"The game today was a little bit set up in some ways," Fulmer conceded. "We held the defense back from a whole lot of blitzing and things."

Even with the offenses having built-in advantages, though, the head man thought the execution was significantly better than it was in last Saturday's scrimmage that was dominated by the defenses.

"Especially early, I thought we were really sharp," Fulmer said. "We executed fairly well, didn't have a whole bunch of mistakes."

Ainge completed 14 of 22 passes for 210 yards. He hooked up with Robert Meachem on touchdown passes covering 27 and 70 yards. Ainge didn't throw an interception but he was sacked twice just before halftime.

"I thought Erik had a really good game except for the two sacks," Fulmer said. "There was no reason to have either one of those. He could've thrown the ball away a little bit sooner.

Jonathan Crompton, coming off shoulder surgery, completed 15 of 19 for 102 yards.

"I've been real impressed with Jon Crompton, considering he hasn't played any football at all since high school," Fulmer said. "For him to get in the huddle and verbalize as well as he has done, understand what we're trying to do and throw the ball with the velocity he has, obviously has been real impressive.

Bo Hardegree completed 9 of 10 for 50 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

"Bo's had a good spring," Fulmer said, adding that new offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe "has been great for all of those guys."

David Yancey paced the rushers with 48 yards on 9 carries. JaKouri Williams had 33 on 11. Ricardo Kemp added 12 on 3 tries.

The top receiver was Meachem, who caught five balls for 135 yards, including the two TD throws from Ainge. Bret Smith caught seven for 47 yards.

Defensive leaders were Rico McCoy (6 solos, 1 assist), James Turner (4 solos, 3 assists), Adam Myers-White (4 solos, 3 assists), Ellix Wilson (2 solos, 4 assists), Ryan Karl (4 solos, 1 assist), Anthony McAlister (4 solos, 1 assist) and Antonio Wardlow (3 solos, 2 assists). Jonathan Wade had an interception, 2 tackles and 2 pass breakups.

Here's a recap of the noteworthy plays:

The first two plays of the scrimmage saw Ainge find Meachem for a 12-yard gain, then hand off to Yancey for another 12-yard gain.

Ainge hit Meachem at the four-yard line. Meachem broke a tackle and skipped into the end zone to complete a 27-yard touchdown play.

Robert Ayers sacked Crompton for a six-yard loss.

JaKouri Williams bounced outside for a 14-yard gain and, two plays later, rambled for a 17-yard gain.

Safety Antonio Wardlow threw Williams for a one-yard loss.

Linebacker James Turner threw Williams for a five-yard loss.

Inky Johnson made a nice pass breakup on a throw from Ainge to Josh Briscoe.

Ayers threw Williams for a three-yard loss.

Ainge found Meachem for a 19-yard gain.

Yancey broke three tackles, turning a short pass from Ainge into a 17-yard gain.

James Wilhoit hit a 35-yard field goal, boosting the White lead to 10-0.

Jonathan Wade intercepted a Bo Hardegree pass intended for Bret Smith.

Demetrice Morley stripped tailback Todd Vinson and defensive tackle Matt McGlothlin recovered.

Linebacker Rico McCoy threw Williams for a two-yard loss.

Antonio Reynolds sacked Ainge for a seven-yard loss.

Yancey gained 11 yards on a draw and 10 yards on a off-tackle play on back-to-back snaps.

Tackle Dan Williams sacked Ainge for an 11-yard loss.

Ainge hit Meachem with a 25-yard pass. Meachem broke three tackles and bolted to the end zone, completing a 70-yard touchdown play that padded the White lead to 17-0.

Wade made a nice break to nearly intercept a Crompton pass.

Linebacker Ryan Karl sniffed out a lateral to Lucas Taylor, dropped him for a seven-yard loss and forced a fumble that Ayers recovered.

Ainge found Austin Rogers for 12 yards.

Wilhoit hit a 36-yard field goal, boosting the lead to 20-0.

Non-scholarship tailback Todd Vinson ran six yards for a touchdeown, widening the gap to 27-0.

Walk-on Kris Fant returned the ensuing kickoff 40 yards for the Orange.

Walk-on quarterback Jim Bob Cooter scrambled for 16 yards.

Walk-on tailback Roy Olasimbo burst 23 yards up the gut.

Walk-on linebacker Anthony McAllister made four consecutive stops inside the five-yard line, although one was nullified by an off-sides penalty. Olasimbo finally scored on fourth-and-one by going wide, padding the lead to 34-0.

The Orange got on the scoreboard when Hardegree and Bret Smith connected on a six-yard touchdown pass with just 25 seconds left.

NOTE: We'll post an updated version of this story that includes all pertinent stats once UT makes the stats available.


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