The Tennessee Volunteers played their home opener today against the UAB Blazers. The Vols went into the game a 21 point favorite and did not disappoint the crowd of 98,205 in their 35-3 victory.
UT struggled offensively early in the game, but rebounded to score 2 first half touchdowns, both passes from Jonathan Crompton to Gerald Jones. The Vols were up 14-0 at halftime. They came out in the second half looking much more focused and in sync. Below is my assessment of today’s performance.
The offense did not look poised in the first half. The running backs got off a few good runs, and QB Crompton was successful on 2 TD passes, but otherwise the offense was just not clicking. The second half was a much different story. They played well and seemed to all be on the same page.
I have to give the running backs an A for their performance. Arian Foster rushed for 100 yards on 12 carries but did not score, while Lennon Creer carried the ball 8 times for 93 yards and 2 TD.
Much of the success running the ball has to go to the offensive line, who gets a B- from me this week. They did a great job in the second half opening up some big holes for the backs. However, they still allowed too much pressure, in my opinion, on Crompton, who gets a C+ this week. He finished the day 19 of 31 for 240 yards and 2 TD. He also threw 2 interceptions.
Receiving gets a C+ for their performance. Lucas Taylor had an outstanding game with 9 catches for 132 yards. Gerald Jones had 39 yards on 3 receptions, with 2 TD. The tight ends were basically ineffective. Luke Stocker missed 2 catches on very well thrown balls.
Defense once again played an outstanding game. Although they struggled stopping UAB QB Joe Webb, especially on 3rd down, they played solid. Eric Berry, Ellix Wilson and DeAnglo Willingham each had 1 interception. The defense was able to step up and make some big plays at just the right times in the game, allowing only 167 passing and 108 rushing yards.
Overall I have to give today’s performance an A-. I think the Vols played very well today, but UAB is not a powerhouse football team. The team still has some work to do before facing Florida in Knoxville next week. The offensive line needs to do a better job protecting the QB and giving him some extra time to throw. The receivers need to do better catching well thrown balls. After today’s performance I feel much better about the Florida game than I did a couple of weeks ago.