Published August 31, 2012 - 11:10pm
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Tennessee scored one for the SEC in taking out one of the better teams in the ACC, NC State. As we’ve been telling you for weeks (see here and here), this isn’t the same Tennessee team. The added experience and a healthy Tyler Bray and WR Justin Hunter mean this team can play. Da’Rick Rogers absence wasn’t felt much with the debut of JUCO transfer Cordarrelle Patterson.
Patterson tore up the 1st quarter with a 41-yard touchdown catch from Bray and a 67-yard rush for a touchdown. Incredible debut.
Bray looked locked in all night, throwing for 332 yards on 27 of 41 passing. Two touchdowns, no interceptions. He should have added a touchdown run, which was called a fumble and (we think) incorrectly not overturned.
One of the big question marks, the Vols’ run game looked average at times, but finished strong in the second half. Vols fans will be thrilled with 194 yards on the ground which includes two long runs.
The Vols’ defense also adds a bit of encouragement. They looked athletic and fast. The best example of this was Curt Maggitt’s sack on NC State QB Mike Glennon which resulted in a safety in the 1st quarter. The closing speed was very impressive. Video below:
The defense pressured Glennon repeatedly all night keeping the NC State passing game from settling in. Add to that four interceptions on Glennon, and you have a very good opening night for the Vols’ defense.
After a not overly impressive showing by the Gamecocks, uncertainty in Gainesville and a reputation for Georgia to not exactly capitalize each week, you have to ask if Tennessee has a shot at competing for the SEC East. It’s just one game, but the table is set for Dooley to be relevant in the SEC. All eyes will turn to the Florida-Tennessee showdown in Knoxville in two weeks.
Tennessee takes down NC State 35-21.