Vols defensive effort leads way past Aggies

Published 2:45 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

STAR CORRESPONDENT

KNOXVILLE- For once, a Josh Heupel-led Tennessee Volunteer team had to rely on its defense to pull out an SEC victory over the visiting Texas A&M Aggie team on a blustery Saturday afternoon inside Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Tennessee had two sacks and two interceptions at key times in the contest to down Coach Jimbo Fisher’s team by a 20-13 score in a game that the Vols didn’t lead in until late in the third quarter.

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The Aggies came to play as they seized the first lead of the contest at the 8:29 mark of the first quarter when quarterback Max Johnson dove into the end zone on a scramble for a 7-0 lead after Randy Bond’s point-after attempt was good.

Tennessee’s offense managed to even the score just before the quarter ended when quarterback Joe Milton III found Knoxville native Jacob Warren for the score after the tight end took the pass and found his way to the checkerboard end zone.

Charles Campbell blasted the point-after through the uprights and the game was tied at 7-7.

After a back-and-forth second quarter where neither offense could find any footing, the Aggies re-took the lead on Bond’s 41-yard field goal with 5:56 remaining before the half.

The first half would end with the same score as neither team had anything to write home about offensively.

Needing a spark in a bad way, Vols specialist Dee Williams downed a Jackson Ross punt dead at the Aggie one-yard line, where the Tennessee defense dug in its heels and forced the Aggies into a three-and-out.

On the punt, A&M punter Nik Constantinou put little foot into the punt, which was fielded by Williams at the 39-yard line of Texas A&M and Williams did the rest as he zigged and zagged his way to the end zone for a 14-10 Vol lead after Campbell’s boot was true.

Texas A&M continued to play aggressively and pulled to within one, 14-13, with 3:15 remaining as Bond converted a 24-yard field goal after the Aggies completed a 68-yard drive on eight plays to set up the field goal.

The Vols got some breathing room with 3:48 left to play when Campbell knocked a 31-yard field goal through the uprights to push the lead to four for Tennessee, 17-13.

An interception by Tennessee cornerback Gabe Jeudy-Lally with 3:25 left to play put the Vols in excellent field position, but the offense was unable to push the ball into the end zone as Campbell was called upon once again and converted a 24-yard field goal with 54 seconds remaining to play in the ball game.

The Aggies had one final chance to either tie or win the football game but an interception by Kamal Hadden sealed the visitor’s fate as the Vols ran their season record to 5-1 (2-1 SEC) while Texas A&M fell to 4-2 (2-2 SEC).

 

UP NEXT

Tennessee hits the road next weekend, facing Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. CBS will televise the contest at 3:30 p.m. ET.

 

Team Statistics

Statistic TAM TEN
FIRST DOWNS
Total 17 20
Rushing 4 10
Passing 9 7
Penalty 4 3
RUSHING
Total (Net) 54 232
Attempts 28 49
Avg. Per Rush 1.9 4.7
Rushing TDs 1 0
Yds. Gained 87 261
Yds. Lost 33 29
PASSING
Total (Net) 223 100
Comp.-Att.-Int. 16-34-2 11-22-1
Avg. / Att. 6.6 4.5
Avg. / Comp. 13.9 9.1
TDs 0 1
TOTAL OFFENSE
Yards 277 332
Plays 62 71
Avg. / Play 4.5 4.7
Fumbles – Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties – Yds. 11-90 12-115
PUNTING
Punts – Yds. 4-128 3-120
Avg. / Punt 32 40
Inside 20 0 2
50+ Yds. 0 0
Touchbacks 0 0
Fair Catch 2 1
KICKOFFS
Total – Yds. 4-260 5-325
Avg. Yds. / Kickoff 65.0 65.0
Touchbacks 3 4
RETURNS
Punt: Total – Yds. – TDs 0-0-0 1-39-1
Punt: Avg. / Return 0 39.0
Kickoff: Total – Yds. – TDs 1-23-0 1-19-0
Kickoff: Avg. / Return 23.0 19.0
INT: Total – Yds. – TDs 1-16-0 2-41-0
Fumble: Total – Yds. – TDs 0-0-0 0-0-0
MISCELLANEOUS
Misc. Yards 0 0
Poss. Time 30:48 29:12
3rd. Down Conv. 5 of 15 7 of 15
4th. Down Conversions 0 of 2 0 of 2
Red-Zone: Scores – Chances 3-3 3-5
Sacks: Total – Yds. 3-16 2-16
PAT: Total – Made 1-1 2-2
2PT Conversion: Total – Made 0-0 0-0
Field Goals: Total – Made 2-3 2-3

 

Offensive

TAM – Passing

Player Cmp Att. Yds. TD INT Long Sack
Johnson,Max 16 34 223 0 2 29 2
Totals 16 34 223 0 2 29 2

TEN – Passing

Player Cmp Att. Yds. TD Int. Long Sack
Milton III,Joe 11 22 100 1 1 17 3
Totals 11 22 100 1 1 17 3

TAM – Rushing

Player Att. Gain Loss Net TD Lg. Avg.
Moss,Le’Veon 15 63 1 62 0 19 4.1
Owens,Rueben 5 16 0 16 0 9 3.2
TEAM 1 0 2 -2 0 0 -2.0
Johnson,Max 7 8 30 -22 1 6 -3.1
Totals 28 87 33 54 1 19 1.9

TEN – Rushing

Player Att. Gain Loss Net TD Lg. Avg.
Wright,Jaylen 19 139 3 136 0 23 7.2
Small,Jabari 12 42 0 42 0 11 3.5
Milton III,Joe 8 50 16 34 0 19 4.3
Sampson,Dylan 9 30 5 25 0 12 2.8
Mincey,Gerald 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
TEAM 1 0 5 -5 0 0 -5.0
Totals 49 261 29 232 0 23 4.7

TAM – Receiving

Player Rec. Yds. TD Long
Thomas,Noah 3 75 0 29
Stewart,Evan 4 48 0 21
Wright,Max 3 26 0 20
Smith,Ainias 1 20 0 20
Moss,Le’Veon 1 19 0 19
Owens,Rueben 1 13 0 13
Muhammad III,Moose 2 11 0 8
Johnson,Jake 1 11 0 11
Totals 16 223 0 29

TEN – Receiving

Player Rec. Yds. TD Long
Nimrod,Chas 4 31 0 11
White,Squirrel 3 29 0 17
Castles,McCallan 2 24 0 13
Sampson,Dylan 1 9 0 9
Warren,Jacob 1 7 1 7
Thornton Jr.,Dont’e 0 0 0 0
Keyton,Ramel 0 0 0 0
Totals 11 100 1 17