KNOXVILLE (WATE) – No. 15 Tennessee improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2004 on Saturday at Neyland Stadium, holding off Ohio 28-19, but that wasn’t the main story-line.
The Vols put together a fast start for the first time this season, scoring on the third play from scrimmage in 38 seconds. Joshua Dobbs connected with Josh Malone for a 20-yard touchdown, giving Malone his third-straight game with a trip to the end zone this season.
However, that wasn’t the main story-line either.
The hot start would fizzle into another sloppy performance surrounded with injuries. As Ohio freshman kicker Louie Zervos fired away four field goals in the first half, Cameron Sutton, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Quart’e Sapp and Danny O’Brien went down with injuries. Darrin Kirkland Jr. and LaTroy Lewis were already out today with ankle injuries.
While Tennessee recovered all four of its fumbles, holding onto the football will be a major concern moving forward as the Vols head into conference play next week. Tennessee has recovered a combined 14 of 17 fumbles on offense, defense and special teams this season.
Tennessee went into the second quarter with its first lead after one quarter of play this season. After out-gaining Ohio by 91 yards in the first quarter, the Vols added another scoring drive capped off with a Jalen Hurd leap from one yard out. Hurd’s score wrapped up a 10 play drive.
The Vols took a 21-12 lead in the third quarter after a Dobbs 13-yard quarterback keeper. The senior quarterback passed Tee Martin on the Vols’ all-time passing list, moving to 7th with 4,619 yards during the 7 play scoring drive.
Malone continued to stand out as the Vols play-maker in the fourth quarter. While the Junior had a combined three touchdowns in his first two seasons on Rocky Top, Malone caught his fourth score this season on a 20-yard pass from Dobbs to put Tennessee on top 28-19.
Neyland Stadium attendance: 101,362