Jalen Hurd's workhorse, savior performance a bright spot in Week 1
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jalen Hurd was one of the bright spots for Tennessee in their opening victory against Appalachian State.
That’s an understatement. Hurd saved the Volunteers from possibly suffering a their own Michigan moment when he dived into the pile and came out with the ball Josh Dobbs fumbled, scoring the winning points in overtime.
The Vols’ 20-13 victory was so underwhelming they fell from No. 9 to No. 17 in the AP Poll and from No. 10 to No. 14 in the Coaches Poll.
The offense did not perform anywhere near the level of expectation, but Team 120 won and stayed unblemished on the young season. Maybe by November, their performance will be all but forgotten and only Hurd’s final act remembered.
The junior running back was a workhorse, a difference-maker and a savior.
He ran 28 times for 110 rushing yards and one touchdown. Tennessee ran 43 times, keeping it in perspective how meaningful Hurd’s 28 carries were for hard-fought yards.
The lone touchdown is why Hurd is a savior. Pouncing on Dobbs’ fumble at the goal line in overtime, saving the Vols’ chances of victory with the go-ahead touchdown recovery.
But Hurd also topped the century mark for the fourth consecutive game.
If he gets to 100 against Virginia Tech, Hurd’s five-game streak would tie him for the third-longest streak in Tennessee history (Arian Foster, Chuck Webb).
Hurd came into the season only 891 yards behind Travis Henry to become Tennessee’s all-time rushing leader.
Hurd is only 781 yards behind Henry’s record and just 39 yards behind Travis Stephens, who is 11th all-time at Tennessee.
Hurd can move from No. 12 to No. 8 on the career list with 95 yards against Virginia Tech at the Battle at Bristol.
Tennessee’s updated all-time leading rushers
Travis Henry (1997-2000) 3,078
Arian Foster (2005-2008) 2,964
James Stewart (1991-1994) 2,890
Johnnie Jones (1981-1984) 2,852
Jamal Lewis (1997-1999) 2,677
Cedric Houston (2001-2004) 2,634
Jay Graham (1993-1996) 2,609
Montario Hardesty (2005-2009) 2,391
Curt Watson (1969-1971) 2,364
Reggie Cobb (1987-1989) 2,360
Travis Stephens (1997-2001) 2,336
Jalen Hurd (2014-present) 2,297