Bray's Career Day Powers Vols
UT 45, Cincy 23
KNOXVILLE -- There
are plenty of words that would fit Tennessee's passing game in its
45-23 victory over Cincinnati. Wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers thinks he
knows the best one.
"It wouldn't call it easy. I would call it
routine," Rogers said. "You really just play like you play in practice,
and it carries over in the game."
Led by a record day from
quarterback Tyler Bray, Tennessee's passing game was clicking at a
level that hasn't been seen in quite a while. And in a couple cases,
Bray connected on 34 of his 41 passes for four touchdowns
and a career-best 405 yards. The prime beneficiaries -- and
contributors -- were fellow sophomores Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter.
week after the two combined for 246 receiving yards in a victory over
Montana, they became the first receivers in Tennessee history to record
10 catches in the same game and the first to record back-to-back
"Our passing game was on all cylinders," UT coach Derek Dooley said.
running game, which struggled at times last week against the Grizzlies,
got good production from senior Tauren Poole, who finished with 101
yards on 21 carries.
The Vols' defense, though, took a while to warm up.
scored on its first two possessions, although one was delayed by a
successful onside kick by the Vols. But after ending the first quarter
tied at 14-14, the Bearcats found a brick wall on a pair of
fourth-and-1 attempts that helped swing the game toward Tennessee.
linebacker A.J. Johnson and junior college transfer Maurice Couch blew
up a fourth-and-1 from the Cincinnati 49-yard line early in the second
quarter. Holding on to that same 21-14 lead, Malik Jackson and Brent
Brewer stuffed quarterback Zach Collaros on another fourth-and-1 at the
UT 46-yard line with a little more than 5 minutes remaining in the half.
a great feeling. We go in there every week and talk about getting big
stops," Jackson said. "It's always big when you stop a team on
And not just because the Vols got the ball back, either.
not just the stop, it's field position," Dooley said. "Those are about
40-yard stops, turnovers. And it generates juice. You get a little
excited. Those plays are huge, the fourth downs."
The Vols rode
the momentum of that stop to a 53-yard touchdown drive that ended with
a 15-yard pass from Bray to Rogers, who had two touchdowns to go with
his 10 catches for 100 yards.
Hunter, who had 81 of his 146
receiving yards last week on one play, finished with 156 yards on 10
catches, none of which went for more than 33 yards.
second half, the Vols' offense was a little less aerodynamic, but Bray
scored his first career rushing touchdown to give the Vols a 35-14 lead
just after halftime. His 16-yard pass to Zach Rogers at the end of the
third quarter all but sealed the game at 42-17.
(1-1), who scored 72 points last week against Austin Peay, got a field
goal and a fourth quarter touchdown, but never seriously threatened
"We were just in that zone tonight," Bray
said. "If you could have been in our huddle, you could have seen it in
The Vols, 2-0 for the first time since 2006,
turn their focus to Saturday's SEC opener at No. 18 Florida. Tennessee
last won at Florida in 2003, and the Vols are winless against the
Gators in the last six meetings.
Bray didn't play against the
Gators last year, and Rogers and Hunter hadn't cracked the starting
lineup yet. Those three put a significantly different face on the Vols'
offense, but the Gators are a significantly different opponent than UT
has seen in its first two games.
"(Bray) looks very different
than what he did last year at this time," Dooley said. "But you know
this is two games. It's a long season now. We've got to get ready next
week. These suckers are good.
"Before we start patting ourselves
on the back a little bit, let's just enjoy the win and see if we can
keep up with these guys next week."