By: John Dunn
Founder, Managing Editor, Host
The All Vol Call in Show
Fresh off of a BYE week, the eighth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers traveled to Baton Rouge in search of their third ranked win of the season against the 25th-ranked Tigers of LSU.
In dominating fashion, the Vols handed the Tigers a 40-13 loss on Saturday, moving to 5-0 on the season ahead of a huge top-10 clash with annual SEC West foe and conference counterpart, Alabama.
Things couldn't have started much better for Tennessee against LSU. On the game's opening kickoff, the Tigers fumbled the ball, allowing the Vols to recover, setting them up with favorable field position on their first drive. Tennessee didn't waste the opportunity, scoring the first redzone touch
down scored on LSU all season. After a successful PAT, Tennessee took a quick 7-0 lead.
After holding the Tigers to a quick three-and-out, Tennessee defensive back Dee Williams got his first touch in Vols uniform; returning a punt for 58-yards. If not for the punter bringing Williams down, he would have scored a touchdown on his first touch. With favorable field position for back-to-back drives, Tennessee scored again, this time on a short field goal by Chase McGrath, extending the Tennessee lead to 10-0 early in the game.
With LSU putting together it's most promising drive of the afternoon, the Vols found themselves playing defense with their backs against the end zone. After holding the Tigers for three downs, Tennessee was tasked with stopping LSU on a 4th-and-4 in the red zone. Thanks to stout defense, the Vols held the Tigers and forced a turnover on downs, reassuming possession deep in their own territory.
After beginning deep in its own territory, Tennessee marched down the field with big gains from Hendon Hooker, Bru McCoy, and Jaylen Wright. However, LSU kept the Vols from hitting pay dirt, holding them to a field goal. The successful FG extended the Tennessee lead to 13-0 with just under two and a half minutes remaining in the opening stanza.
LSU reassumed possession and were again faced with a fourth-and-1. And again, Tennessee's defense stepped up, holding the Tigers to nothing. One play later, Hooker connected with Jalin Hyatt for a 45-yard touchdown, extending the Vols lead to 20-0 following a successful PAT from McGrath.
The Vols were beginning to build a buffer between themselves and the Tigers.
However, Tennessee failed to get anything going on the ensuing drive, with Hooker taking a massive hit, and the Vols converting and stalling out after a fourth-and-short.
On the following drive, thanks to big gains from Daniels and Boutte, along with penalties from Tennessee, the Tigers were in the red zone for the second time of the game. A pass from Daniels to the LSU tight end gave the Tigers the ball on the 1-yard line, allowing Josh Williams to punch it in for the first LSU touchdown of the game, bringing the score to 20-7 with three minutes remaining in the first half.
On the ensuing Tennessee drive, Jabari Small ripped off a 40-yard run to set the Vols up in LSU territory. However, a holding call left Tennessee with a long 3rd down, which they failed to convert, leaving 1:00 on the clock in the first half, leading 20-7. McGrath stepped up for a 50-yard field goal. The kick hit the right upright, and missed.
LSU was working its way down the field before the Tennessee defense tightened up, and forced a long fourth down conversion attempt. With 23-seconds remaining in the first half, Byron Young sacked Daniels for a huge loss, leaving the Vols only 15-yards away from field goal range, leading 20-7.
Following a big gain, Tennessee was left with a 32-yard field goal attempt, which McGrath connected on, leaving the Vols with a 23-7 lead. Tennessee was set to receive the second half opening kickoff.
Tennessee struck fast in the third quarter, with Hooker connecting with Hyatt for their second touchdown connection of the day, extending the Tennessee lead to 30-7.
After taking back over on defense, the Vols limited LSU to very little yardage on its first drive of the second half.
Tennessee reassumed possession and began working down field. After converting a 3rd-and-8, LSU was called for targeting. The Vols offense failed to add to the lead but held the Tigers to nothing on the following defensive stand.
After regaining possession, Tennessee worked down field with another big gain from McCoy. Inside the LSU 30-yard line, the Vols were faced with a 4th-and-short. After converting for the first down, Hooker took a strike to the end zone to Hyatt, and the Tigers were called for pass interference, leaving Tennessee with four downs inside the 5-yard line.
Jabari Small danced into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game with 2:13 remaining in the third quarter, extending the Tennessee lead to 37-7.
The score sat 30 points in favor of Tennessee heading into the final frame.
What seemed like a touchdown for the Tigers and was celebrated as such by Neighbors, was called back, leaving the score at 37-7 with LSU deep in Tennessee territory.
The Tigers eventually scored on a pass from Daniels to Boutte but failed the ensuing 2-pt conversion as Omari Thomas blasted Daniels for a sack, leaving Tennessee in control, 37-13 in the final frame.
The Vols milked a lot of time off the clock on their final drive en route to extending their lead behind another field goal from McGrath to 40-13 with just minutes remaining in the game. LSU attempted to add one more touchdown in the final seconds of the game, but it was picked off by Trevon Flowers.
With the victory, Tennessee moved to 5-0 on the season. As of press time, the Alabama Crimson Tide were still undefeated. If that holds, next week's matchup between Tennessee and Alabama will be the first time the two teams have met ranked inside the top-10 in decades.