My five favorite words this time of the year are, “It’s football time in Tennessee”. Anyone who knows me knows I get a little crazy about UT football. Today we kicked off the 2009 season at home against Western Kentucky. The Lane Kiffin era began on a very positive note as the Vols routed the Hilltoppers 63-7.
The Vols got off to a slow start offensively turning the ball over twice in the first quarter. The Vol defense, however, lived up to the hype and was able to dominate WKU. The first quarter ended with no score.
Tennessee came to life in the 2nd quarter when true freshman Bryce Brown scored his first college career rushing TD. Senior QB Jonathan Crompton followed that by throwing for 3 TD as the Vols went up 28-0 at the half.
The Vols success continued into the second half as they continued to rack up yardage and points. The running game worked very well. Montario Hardesty carried 18 times for 160 yards and a TD. Bryce Brown had 11 carries for 104 yards and a TD. The passing game, which I had concerns about, was surprisingly effective. Jonathan Crompton ended the day 21-of-28 for 233 yards and 5 TD. (Note: Crompton only have 4 TD passes last season). The Vols offense put up some pretty impressive numbers: 657 yards (380 rushing and 277 passing).
Defensively the Vols were outstanding. They allowed WKU only 6 first downs and gave up just one TD (in the 3rd quarter). The Vol defense held WKU to 83 total yards (49 passing and 34 rushing).
I understand that WKU is not a powerhouse when it comes to opponents the Vols will face. However, today’s win was still very impressive. I think they played very well as a team and clicked on both sides of the ball. Next week’s game against a much tougher UCLA team will provide a better glimpse of this Tennessee team’s strengths and weaknesses. The true test will come in 2 weeks when we open up SEC play in Gainesville, FL. Only time will tell what year one of the Kiffin era will bring. Based on what I saw today my hopes are a little higher.