After watching the Vols defeat Western Kentucky 63-7 in the season opener last weekend I had high expectations for Saturday’s match up with UCLA. Unfortunately I’m now asking myself, “What happened to the Vols?”.
Tennessee hosted UCLA in Knoxville this weekend in front of a crowd of over 102,000. Coming off an incredible performance in week 1, the Vols faced a much tougher opponent in UCLA. This game was a good test to see if the Vols were really as good as they looked, or if they only looked good because of the opponent. After watching both games, it is my opinion that WKU made TN look much better than they actually are, especially on offense. The Vols managed only 208 total yards in their 19-15 loss.
Offensively this Tennessee team looked more like the team from a year ago than from week 1. QB Jonathan Crompton was 13-of-26 for 115 yards and threw 3 interceptions. (Technically he threw 4 picks, but one was called back because UCLA was offsides). The Vols also lost a fumble. Each Tennessee turnover resulted in a UCLA score, which ultimately cost Tennessee the game.
The running game was fair as senior Montario Hardesty carried 26 times for 89 yards and freshman Bryce Brown added 34 yards on 11 carries. Unfortunately for the Vols they just couldn’t put it all together in time to pull out a win.
On defense the Vols played well. I think the defense stepped up and showed they are going to be a threat in the SEC. The Vols defense only allowed UCLA 186 yards and was able to hold them to field goals following the turnovers. Had the defense not stepped up as they did the score could have easily been much more one sided.
Overall Tennessee played a sloppy game. Jonathan Crompton looked like a completely different QB than in the opener with WKU, in which he threw a career high 5 TD passes. He and the offense have to get focused quickly if the Vols want to have a chance to hang with the Gators this Saturday. I love my Vols and will cheer them on, but to be honest I don’t have high hopes for this weekend. My gut tells me there’s going to be a massacre in the swamp and it won’t be Gator that’s bleeding. I hope the team can prove me wrong!
Regardless of what happens in Gainesville or the rest of the season I still bleed orange & will say: