GAMEDAY College Football

Tennessee 38, Bowling Green 6

(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

By AL LESAR
Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee ran for four touchdowns, and Josh Heupel's debut as the Volunteers head coach was a success with a 38-6 victory over Bowling Green on Thursday night.

After rushing for just 67 yards in the first half, the Vols gained more than 200 yards in the second half - while having Jabari Small (124 yards) and Tiyon Evans (116) lead the assault.

Quarterback Joe Milton, a transfer from Michigan, threw for 140 yards (11 of 23) and ran for two scores in Heupel's up-tempo attack.

"There were a couple times I didn't like Joe's decision-making," Heupel said. "There are some things he has to clean up. At the same time, there were some positives as well. We believe in Joe."

The game marked the start of the 100th season of football in Tennessee's Neyland Stadium.

"What an awesome experience for our players and our staff," Heupel said of the crowd of more than 84,000. "You could feel the student section and Neyland's energy from the beginning of the game. We appreciate that energy and we needed that."

Bowling Green trailed just 14-6 at halftime while shutting out the Vols in the second quarter. The Mid-American Conference representative wore down in the final 30 minutes.

"Our football team was much better at getting aligned (in the first half)," said Bowling Green coach Scot Loeffler. "We were prepared for the tempo (offense). We tackled better."

Tennessee's rush defense was impressive, limiting the Falcons to just 32 yards on the ground.

"We played vertically, distributed and changed the line of scrimmage consistently," said Heupel. "For most of the night, first second and third level played really efficiently, played with great effort and strength. Tackled relatively well, and did a really good job."

"We couldn't run the football very well," said Loeffler. "Our young offensive line battled their tails off."

"Overall, we did well, especially in the run game," said Theo Jackson, a member of the Vols secondary. "In the pass game, we just need to clean things up."

After rushing for just 67 yards and leading by eight points in the first half, Tennessee improved on its first drive of the third quarter. Evans ran twice for 32 yards, Small carried three times for 29 yards and Milton took it the final yard for a TD and 21-6 advantage. The Vols covered all 72 yards on the ground.

Tennessee's lead went to 28-6 when Evans ran 19 yards for a touchdown.

Chase McGrath's 43-yard field goal was Tennessee's first score of the fourth quarter. The Vols ventured to the Bowling Green 8, but two holding penalties changed the situation.

The Vols final TD was the first through the air when Milton completed his first pass of the second half, a 40-yarder to Cedric Tillman for the 38-6 margin.

Trailing 14-0, Bowling Green solved the aggressive Tennessee defense in the second quarter. Falcon quarterback Matt McDonald went to a short passing game and moved the ball effectively. The Falcons went 70 yards in that patient attack, then Nate Needham drilled a 42-yard field goal.

The Falcons kept the pressure on Tennessee.

One of the drawbacks of the Vols' up-tempo offense is that it forces the defense back on the field quickly. After forcing Tennessee to punt with a possession of just over a minute, Bowling Green's second second-quarter drive made progress. The Falcons got the ball as far as the Vols' 17 before some negative plays set up Needham for a career-long 50 yard field goal and a 14-6 difference at halftime.

The Vols gave an indication of what their offense was going to look like when they moved the ball 67 yards in 2:59 on their first possession. Milton capped the march with a 10-yard run and 7-0 lead.

Tennessee's second score took just 2:01 to go 67 yards. A 38-yard pass connection between Milton and Princeton Fant set the table for Small to score from the 1 for a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.

Tennessee athletics press release


Scoring Summary
First Quarter BGSUTenn
Tenn TD 10:25 Joe Milton III 4 yard TD run (Chase McGrath Extra Point) 0 7
Tenn TD 6:52 Jabari Small 1 yard TD run (Chase McGrath Extra Point) 0 14
Second Quarter BGSUTenn
BGSU FG 9:54 Nate Needham 42 yard field goal 3 14
BGSU FG 1:16 Nate Needham 50 yard field goal 6 14
Third Quarter BGSUTenn
Tenn TD 12:53 Joe Milton III 1 yard TD run (Chase McGrath Extra Point) 6 21
Tenn TD 7:51 Tiyon Evans 19 yard TD run (Chase McGrath Extra Point) 6 28
Fourth Quarter BGSUTenn
Tenn FG 9:36 Chase McGrath 43 yard field goal 6 31
Tenn TD 5:11 Cedric Tillman 40 yard TD pass from Joe Milton III (Chase McGrath Extra Point) 6 38
Team Stats
  Bowling Green Tennessee
First downs 11 29
  Rushing 3 20
  Passing 8 6
  Penalty 0 3
3rd Down Efficiency 2-14, 14% 7-16, 44%
4th down efficiency 0-2, 0% 1-3, 33%
Rushes-Yards 23-32 64-326
Passing Yards 187 145
Return Yards 96 83
Completions-Attempts-Int 25-38-0 12-24-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 2-13 3-17
Punts 8 3
Fumbles Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties - Yards 10-80 5-45
Bowling Green Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
M. McDonald 25 38 187 0 0
Tennessee Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
J. Milton III 11 23 140 1 0
H. Hooker 1 1 5 0 0
Bowling Green Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
N. Mosley 8 26 3.3 0
T. Stewart 7 13 1.9 0
J. Embry 3 4 1.3 0
J. Patterson 1 1 1.0 0
T. Keith 1 -1 -1.0 0
M. McDonald 3 -11 -3.7 0
Tennessee Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
T. Evans 16 116 7.3 1
J. Small 22 116 5.3 1
J. Milton III 14 44 3.1 2
M. Pierce Jr. 8 36 4.5 0
J. Wright 4 14 3.5 0
Bowling Green Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
A. Osborne 8 46 5.8 0
C. Croom 5 45 9.0 0
J. Johnson 3 44 14.7 0
L. Gazarek 3 23 7.7 0
J. McKinstry 3 22 7.3 0
J. Embry 1 7 7.0 0
T. Stewart 1 0 0.0
0
T. Keith 1 0 0.0
0
Tennessee Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Hyatt 4 62 15.5 0
C. Tillman 2 48 24.0 1
J. Payton 2 15 7.5 0
P. Fant 1 6 6.0 0
J. Small 1 5 5.0 0
G. Frerking 1 5 5.0 0
J. Warren 1 4 4.0 0
Bowling Green Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Tennessee Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Bowling Green Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
M. Naranjo 8 348 43.5
Tennessee Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
P. Brooks 3 147 49.0
Bowling Green Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Tennessee Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
T. Jackson 2 14 7.0
T. Flowers 1 -2 -2.0
Bowling Green Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
R. Keller 3 60 20.0
D. Jones Jr. 2 36 18.0
Tennessee Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
V. Jones Jr. 2 52 26.0
L. Whitehead 1 19 19.0
Bowling Green Missed FG
Player Length
Tennessee Missed FG
Player Length




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