Viva Knox-Vegas… Vols use strong second-half performance to roll past Bowling Green

Published 12:02 am Friday, September 3, 2021

BY NIC MILLER
STAR STAFF
nic.miller@elizabethton.com

College football is back! And for the first time since the 2019 collegiate season, the Tennessee Volunteers played in a packed-out Neyland Stadium for their season opener against the Bowling Green Falcons on Thursday night.

And it may have been the electric atmosphere, or it may have been the fact that the Vols were ready to get things going quick, but Tennessee wasted no time to score their first touchdown of the season.

After a huge third and two stop by the Volunteer defense on the Falcons’ inaugural drive, the offense would start at their own 34-yard line and march down the field in a hurry as newly named starting quarterback Joe Milton III would fight his way into the endzone from three yards out.

The extra point by Chase McGrath would add one more to make it 7-0 with only five minutes gone in the first stanza.

And Tennessee fans did not have to hold their breath for long as the second drive of the game for the Vols proved fruitful. After a huge 30-yard reception from Milton to wideout Jalin Hyatt took the pigskin inside the ten, Jabari Small would scamper across the goal line from one yard out to make it a two-score ball game, 14-0 with almost seven to go in the first quarter of play.

Scoring would remain quiet for the remainder of the quarter, leaving things at a 14-0 advantage for the Vols after one.

However, Bowling Green would make their mark on the scoreboard five minutes into the second period with a 42-yard field goal by Nate Needham that would split the uprights to draw things slightly closer, 14-3.

The Bowling Green defense had come to play in the second quarter, and after a quick stop following the score, the Falcons were able to take a huge chunk out of the clock before Needham would drill another field goal, this one from 50 yards out.

This brought things to a one-possession game, 14-6, with a little over a minute to go in the first half.

As hard as they tried, the Vols were not able to get anything going in the final minute, leaving things at a tightly contested 14-6 ball game heading into the halftime break.

Coming out of the break, Tennessee would start off just as hot as they had in the first half, moving swiftly down the field and into Bowling Green Territory.

The confidence booster came on a 21-yard rush by Tiyon Evans that would set the Vols up just outside the ten, eventually leading to another Milton rushing touchdown from a yard away that would give big orange a 21-6 advantage early in the third.

Midway through the quarter, Evans would make another big play for Tennessee, this time being rewarded with six as he found a wide-open gap from 19 yards out to scamper his way into the promised land, making it a 28-6 lead in favor of the home team.

Fast-forwarding to the final quarter of play, the Volunteers added on just a tad bit more midway through to put the nail in the coffin as McGrath split the uprights with a 43-yard field goal, making it 31-6 in favor of Tennessee.

And just for good measure, Tennessee would find the end zone one final time with a 40-yard air attack score from Milton to Cedric Tillman, closing out the game with a lopsided victory for the Vols, 38-6.

Milton finished his first start with the Volunteers with an 11-of-22 line, throwing for 140 yards and one touchdown while finding the end zone twice on the ground.

Evans finished the contest with 120 yards on the ground and one score, while Small rushed his way to 116 yards and one touchdown as well.

The Volunteers will be back in action on Saturday, September 11th, once again at Neyland Stadium against the Panthers of the University of Pittsburgh.