Vols offense clicks in 59-10 victory over Ball State
Published 2:56 pm Friday, September 2, 2022
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It didn’t take long for the potent Tennessee offense to find the end zone in the season-opening contest for the Vols and the Ball State Cardinals.
Much to the delight of over 92,000 fans, most clad in orange, the Vols didn’t stop there as they opened up the second season under Coach Josh Heupel with a 59-10 thumping of the visiting Cardinals.
Recording 32 first downs and 569 yard of total offense, Tennessee scored at will in the first half putting 38 points on the board while the defense allowed the only touchdown of the night to the Cardinals in the half as well.
Five quarterbacks saw action for Tennessee in the rout with pre-season Heisman candidate Hendon Hooker connecting on 18-of-25 pass attempts for 221 yards and two scores while also running for a pair of scores. Seven different players scored in the contest as well.
Cedric Tillman led the receiving corp for the Vols with six catches for 68 yards while Jimmy Holiday hauled in four passes for 62 yards including a 53-yard scoring pass from Milton to the delight of the Vols fan base.
Tennessee had scores from Hooker, Holiday Jalin Hyatt, Small, Walker Merrill, Jaylen Wright, and Dylan Sampson. Chase McGrath also connected on 33-yard field goal while making all of his point-after attempts in the contest.
Red-shirt junior quarterback John Paddock who had thrown only 34 passes in his career, connected on 27-of-43 pass attempts covering 269 yards and a score. The Vols held the Ball State ground game to only 74 yards on 27 carries in the contest.
Heupel said that he appreciated on a Thursday night that the student section and fans had shown up in a big-time way.
” Awesome energy from the time we got off the bus at the Vol Walk, to running through the T and early in the football game,” said Heupel entering his second season. “They were awesome tonight. It was a great way to kick off the season here, as we get in this journey, Week 1. Really happy with a lot of things — offense, defense, special teams, effort, energy, competing. Obviously a huge turnover right off the jump. Defensive line was disruptive. On the reverse pass, T-Mac (Tamarion McDonald) comes up with the big play. We were able to push it in the end zone on the next play with Jalin. I thought there was a lot to be really excited about in all three phases of the game, early in the game. Some things we obviously have to clean up, too, as we get ready for a big one next week.”
Tennessee now sets their sites on the Pitt Panthers who came from behind Thursday night to beat West Virginia, 38-31, in the backyard bowl. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.
The Panthers defeated Tennessee in Knoxville last season.