Rapid Reaction: No. 8 Tennessee dominates LSU from start to finish
No. 8 Tennessee dominated No. 25 LSU from start to finish Saturday afternoon in Tiger Stadium.
The Volunteers rolled to a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, extended it to 23-7 at halftime and coasted to a 40-13 victory. The Vols sealed it with an interception in the end zone.
Tennessee (5-0, 2-0) outplayed the Tigers (4-2, 2-1) in all 3 phases as it tuned up for its showdown with No. 1 Alabama next Saturday in Neyland Stadium.
LSU overcame early deficits against Mississippi State (13-0) and Auburn (17-0) to win its first 2 SEC games, but the Volunteers made sure there would be no such turnaround in this game.
Tennessee made a statement on its opening possession of the 3rd quarter, driving 76 yards as Hendon Hooker threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Hyatt.
Jabari Small ran 5 yards for a touchdown that pushed the lead to 37-7 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Small finished with 121 yards rushing. Hooker added 63 as the Vols topped 250, easily exceeding their average (193.5) coming into the game.
The Vols put the Tigers in a hole from the get-go.
Jack Bech muffed the opening kickoff and Will Brooks recovered for the Vols at the Tigers’ 27.
Five plays later Small ran 1 yard for a touchdown.
Tennessee forced a 3-and-out on the ensuing possession and Dee Williams had a 58-yard punt return to the LSU 26.
The Vols couldn’t get a first down and Chase McGrath kicked a 35-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
LSU missed an opportunity to trim the lead after driving to the Tennessee 14. Head coach Brian Kelly passed on a short field goal and went for 4th-and-4. Jayden Daniels completed a short pass to Kayshon Boutte, but Kamal Hadden and Trevon Flowers tackled Boutte just short of the 1st down.
Hooker drove the Vols to McGrath’s 38-yard field goal and a 13-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter.
Tennessee made another 4th-down stop when Aaron Beasley tackled Josh Williams for a 1-yard loss at the Tigers’ 45 on 4th-and-1. On the next play, Hooker threw a touchdown pass to Hyatt for a 20-0 lead.
LSU drove 96 yards and Josh Williams ran 1 yard for a touchdown that cut the lead to 20-7 late in the second quarter.
The Vols drove into scoring position, but McGrath’s 50-yard field-goal attempt failed when the ball struck the right upright and bounced away with 57 seconds left in the half.
But McGrath got another chance after Daniels was sacked at the Tigers’ 47 on 4th-and-10.
After 2 incompletions, Hooker connected with Bru McCoy for a 32-yard completion and McGrath made a 32-yard kick for a 23-7 halftime lead.
Tennessee scored 20 of its points on possessions that began on LSU’s side of the field.