UT diet has no other cupcakes
Posted: Monday, September 6, 2010 11:16 am
By: By BETH RUCKER, AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee got a confidence-building win in a game where the Volunteers clearly were the bigger, faster and stronger team — a 50-0 victory over UT Martin.
Things are about to get a little tougher.
The Volunteers host No. 11 Oregon, who handily won 72-0 over New Mexico in its season opener. After that comes No. 4 Florida, who struggled in a 34-12 win over Miami (Ohio), but has beat Tennessee five consecutive seasons. Trips to LSU and Georgia are looming in early October.
“The team we’re playing beat a team by about 70,” Dooley said after Saturday night’s season-opening win. “Yeah, so, how’s that for confidence? … We start big-boy ball next week.”
Tennessee will face Oregon without starting wide receiver Gerald Jones, who broke a bone in his left hand catching a 37-yard pass against Tennessee-Martin. Jones, the Vols’ leading receiver from the past two seasons, had 86 yards on six catches before suffering the injury midway through the third quarter.
The Vols could also be without Jones’ fellow starting wide receiver, Denarius Moore, and starting offensive guard Jarrod Shaw after both injured an ankle in the game.
“It’s bad news on Gerald. It looks like he’s going to miss at least two to three games with his hand,” Dooley said.
The Vols had plenty of promising moments against the mismatched Skyhawks. On offense, they outgained UT Martin 537 to 142 yards and 23 first downs to three.
The running game was nearly unstoppable with Tauren Poole and David Oku having their way on the field.
Poole had touchdown runs of 24 and 14 yards while picking up 110 yards on 17 carries before sitting out the fourth quarter. Oku added a TD run of 44 yards.
The young and inexperienced offensive line had little trouble protecting Matt Simms in the passing game.
Simms completed 14-of-24 for 181 yards before resting most of the fourth quarter too.
Perhaps the Vols’ best stretch came in the third quarter when Moore took the handoff on a sweep and ran 58 yards for a touchdown.
On third-and-11 on UT Martin’s subsequent drive, Austin Johnson picked off Derek Carr, and Simms and Moore connected for a 42-yard TD pass on the very next play.
Daniel Lincoln was perfect on his field goal attempts of 21 and 35 yards, Johnson tackled D.J. McNeil in the endzone for a safety and Prentiss Waggner took an interception 54 yard for a touchdown.
So Tennessee should be well-prepared for the defending Pac-10 champions next week, right? Not so fast.
“We made a lot of mistakes that we’ll have to correct,” Dooley said.
Jones fumbled his first punt return of the game, and UT Martin’s Kendal Harper recovered on the Tennessee 36.
The Vols finished with -8 yards on punt returns.
Simms overthrew Luke Stocker several times, and Stocker dropped a few passes too. There was a false start on the 1-yard line that likely cost a touchdown, and an illegal formation penalty forced Lincoln to redo a field goal attempt.
Still, Dooley was encouraged by how his team handled one struggle: a second quarter lull that included three series that ended in punts, two of which were three-and-out.
“We’re young. We have a lot of young guys who have to get used to the whole game atmosphere and the crowd noise, and we have to get used to playing together,” Poole said. “Like coach Dooley always says, it takes time, and we will continue to move forward.”