Published September 5, 2010 - 1:07pm
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
If you looked around the scene in Knoxville when the University of Tennessee opened against Tennessee-Martin, you could see new things everywhere – a new head coach in Derek Dooley, who got his first win in a newly renovated Neyland Stadium with new players at almost every position. Coach Dooley hopefully took in his first run through the power T Saturday night in front of the Volunteer faithful. Dooley really had his young team ready to play against little brother UT-Martin. Regardless of the opponent, Tennessee should be happy with the start to the season and the goose egg they posted on the scoreboard.
Really, the story of the night has to be Tauren Poole, who sat behind Kiffin-promised starter Bryce Brown last year. Tauren always played well in the past when given the opportunity both in practice and in games. Poole came out with his legs blazing and finished with 17 carries for 110 yards. He had touchdown runs of 24 and 14 yards each, and he sat out the fourth quarter.
Backup running back David Oku and wide receiver Denarius Moore also broke runs of 44 and 58 respectively and took them to the checkerboard.
Matt Simms was the starter at quarterback and played decently. He finished the night with 187 yards and one touchdown through the air. He overthrew several receivers throughout the course of the game. Backup Tyler Bray entered the game late and threw a pick.
Defensively, Tennessee posted their first goose egg since 2003, when they shut out Vanderbilt. UT-Martin only gained 147 total yards. Defensive back Prentiss Waggner returned an interception for 54 yards and a touchdown for the Vols.
Tennessee will find out what kind of program they are next week, with Pac 10 favorite Oregon coming to town. Oregon put up 72 points on the board – so the Tennessee defense will be put to the test early and often. Oregon could possibly be the fastest team Tennessee faces all year, including Florida.