Fast start helps No. 1 Alabama trounce Tennessee 58-21

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —Tennessee (3-4, 1-3) fought back in the second quarter, scoring touchdowns on back-to-back drives, but the Volunteers fell to No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0) , 58-21, on Saturday at Neyland Stadium in front of a crowd of 97,087. It was the 101st of the two SEC teams, the Volunteers are now  38-55-7 against Alabama following Saturday’s loss.

The Crimson Tide continued a few of their ongoing streaks. Alabama quarterback, Tau Tagovailoa threw touchdown passes to four receivers, extended his streak of failing to throw an interception and Alabama scored its 9th first drive touchdown of the year. The Heisman Trophy contender  has thrown 25 touchdown passes connecting Saturday with  Jerry Judy, Jaylen Waddle and Irv Smith Jr.

Tagovailoa went 19 of 29 for 306 yards before leaving midway through the third quarter with Alabama ahead 51-14. He took a big hit on his final play of the day, a 51-yard touchdown pass to Henry Ruggs III.

Alabama had touchdowns on its first four possessions while outscoring Tennessee 28-0 and outgunning the Volunteers 217-6 in the opening period. The Tide has outscored opponents 165-31, and Tennessee has been outscored 69-16 in first quarters this season. Tennessee is not the only team Alabama has rolled. Alabama is scoring 54.1 points per game and entered the weekend leading all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in that category.

“I think we learned a lot about our football team today,” UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt said. “There are some guys we had on our team that this game was way too big for them, and I think everyone was able to see that. It helps us, and we’ll move on with it. We play a good football team next week, so we have to go back to work tomorrow and get ready for South Carolina.”

You can see why Jeremy Pruitt loves Kyle Phillips. Really nice, humble kid off the field but works his tail off, does everything he’s asked to do and plays hard on the field”

— Wes Rucker, Sports Commentator

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In a game of bungled plays and missteps, Phillip’s second half defensive score is one of the few takeaway highlights that marks the 12th straight loss to Alabama.

Pruitt cited Phillip’s effort in the game as an example of players who are, everyday, demonstrating how to play and compete the right way. “Kyle (Phillips) has been trying really hard and has ever since we’ve been here. Kyle, Alexis Johnson, Paul Bain and Shy Tuttle are really the five guys who are seniors playing on the defensive side right now and really the only seniors playing. They’ve tried to do it the right way and bought in ever since we’ve been here.”

Kyle Phillips at the Metro Nashville Football Hall of Fame dinner on December 3, 2014. Phillips was awarded the Metro football player of the year award. (photo courtesy of Metro Prep Photos)

It’s easy to see why Hillsboro High School graduate and University of Tennessee Football Captain, Kyle Phillips, was named SEC DL of the Week on October 15, 2018. His interception of Jalen Hurt’s pass in the third quarter opposing player, pick six against Alabama since junior linebacker Daniel Bituli returned an interception 97 yards for a TD in 2017.

UTK NOTABLES:

Tennessee quarterback Keller Chryst went 9 of 15 for 164 yards with two touchdown passes after replacing starter Jarrett Guarantano, who got hit by linebacker Mack Wilson midway through the second quarter and never took another snap.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jarrett Guarantano completed 5 of 10 passes for 63 yards.

Redshirt senior backup quarterback Keller Chryst entered the game with 8:40 left in the first half and went on to complete 9 of 15 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns.

Offensively, the Vols were led by redshirt junior wide receiver Jauan Jennings  (Blackman High School) and sophomore running back Ty Chandler (Montgomery Bell Academy) who had three receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown. Jennings had a career game with who caught six passes for 102 yards,  Chandler also added 21 yards on the ground. His touchdown reception makes him the first Tennessee running back ever with TD catches in three consecutive games.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Tennessee’s all-time record is now 836-387-53. UT ranks 10th all-time in wins among NCAA Division I programs.
  • The Vols hold an all-time record of 465-130-17 at Neyland Stadium, boasting the second-most wins of any school at a current stadium.
  • The Vols must learn to play better at the start of games. Tennessee’s lack of discipline early was a concern, as the Vols committed a few personal fouls early and had cornerback Alontae Taylor ejected in the first quarter.

UP NEXT

Alabama has next week off before visiting No. 5 LSU on Nov. 3.

Tennessee hosts Charlotte on Saturday




Georgia dismantles Tennessee but still bright spots for the Vols

KNOXVILLE – On September 29th the Tennessee Volunteers  (2-3, 0-2) lost to the Georgia Bulldogs 38-12 at Samford Stadium in Athens Georgia. Tennessee came within 12 points with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter but couldn’t hold on as Georgia (5-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) scored effectively ending the game.

Georgia nearly doubled Tennessee’s total yards with 441 yards to a mere 209. Georgia backup quarterback Justin Fields ran for 2 touchdowns and 54 yards coming off the bench.

Nashville Native Ty Chandler had 5 carries for 27 yards and also caught 4 passes for 53 yards. As well as a 35 yard TD pass bringing Tennessee within 12 in the 4th quarter.

Tennessee drops to 2-3 on the season as they enter the bulk of the season in the upcoming weeks with Auburn, Alabama, and South Carolina in the coming weeks.

Coach Jeremy Pruitt was excited from his team’s effort saying, “I learned we’ve got fight in us that we’re not going to quit. It kind of gets me excited. I’m proud of them and the way they fought”

Georgia quarterback Justin Fields dives into the end zone past Tennessee defensive back Micah Abernathy for a 24-0 lead during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, in Athens, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution via AP

The Bulldogs mixed it up between two quarterbacks and that may have been the most notable action in No. 2 Georgia’s 38-12 victory over the Vols on Saturday.

Fromm’s backup, freshman Justin Fields, played a bigger role, coming onto the field in each of the final three quarters. After Fields had scoring runs of 12 and 15 yards, coach Kirby Smart was asked about his plans at quarterback the remainder of the season.

“The plan is there is no plan,” Smart said. He repeated the “no plan” line when asked a follow-up question.

The real plan may be to run the ball. Georgia outrushed Tennessee 251-66.

Georgia moves on in their schedule remaining undefeated at 5-0 and in prime position to win the SEC East and move to the SEC Championship Game.

Georgia scored touchdowns on its last drive of the first half and the opening possession after halftime but otherwise couldn’t maintain momentum.

Tennessee was held to 209 yards. The Vols finally scored on Jarrett Guarantano’s 37-yard pass to Josh Palmer late in the third quarter. Guarantano’s 35-yard scoring pass to Ty Chandler about four minutes into the final quarter cut Georgia’s lead to 24-1

Takeaways: 

Positives:  There were many bright spots for Tennessee including starting QB Jarrett Guarantano who threw for 143 yards and 2 TDs in the losing effort in addition Hillsboro Alum Kyle Phillips has 7 tackles as the starting Defensive Lineman comes in to his own as a senior

Negatives: Some negative takeaways include Tennessee’s run defense or lack thereof giving up 241 yards on the ground and allowing 4 Georgia rushing touchdowns. The offense is also at fault only converting 2-10 of 3rd downs which simply can’t happen to beat a team like Georgia.

Tennessee is off on their bye week this  week but play Auburn this coming week and Alabama the following week meaning these coming weeks will decide exactly what kind of team Tennessee will be.

In terms of injuries Tennessee is injury free and looking to move on to next week against Auburn

On The Air

October 13, 2018 at 11:00 am at Auburn

The game can be watched on the UT Sports broadcasting online Here

Game Time and Broadcast info for Tennessee-Alabama Set
Tennessee and Alabama’s annual rivalry game on The Third Saturday in October will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. ET and be televised nationally as the SEC on CBS Game of the Week on Oct. 20 at Neyland Stadium.

Tickets are still available for the game at AllVols.com or by calling 1-800-332-VOLS.

 




Jurors acquit ex-Tennessee football players in rape trial

Jul 27, 2018 7:53PM 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two former University of Tennessee football players were acquitted Friday of the aggravated rape charges they had been indicted on nearly 3 ½ years ago.
A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for almost 1 ½ hours Friday afternoon before finding A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams not guilty on all counts.”We prayed, trusted in God,” Johnson said afterward. “I just knew God was going to take care of it.”

Johnson, 26, embraced friends and relatives as soon as the jury departed. The 25-year-old Williams gave a big hug to his lawyer, David Eldridge. The woman who said both men raped her left the courtroom as the not-guilty verdicts for Johnson were announced and before the jury foreman had even read the decision on Williams.

A.J. Johnson reaches to hug a family member after a jury acquitted both Johnson and Michael Williams on aggravated rape charges Friday, July 27, 2018, in Knoxville, Tenn. Johnson and Williams were indicted on February 2015 after a woman said both men raped her during a party at Johnson’s apartment in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 2014. Johnson and Williams were suspended from the Tennessee football team less than 48 hours after the party and never played for Tennessee again. (Michael Patrick/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

“I am so grateful to the jury for their work and their service to our community, and I’m grateful for their seeing the truth, (that) Michael Williams is not guilty and has never been guilty of this crime,” Eldridge said. “He’s looking forward to moving on with his life.”

Johnson and Williams were indicted on February 2015 after a woman said both men raped her during a party at Johnson’s apartment in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 2014. Johnson and Williams were suspended from the team less than 48 hours after the party and never played for Tennessee again. Johnson had been a star linebacker, while Williams was a part-time starter in the secondary.

Prosecutors made the Tennessee football program’s clout and Johnson’s local celebrity status major elements of their case. During her closing argument Friday afternoon, Knox County Assistant District Attorney General Leslie Nassios described the defendants as “entitled men, used to getting their way, coddled, idolized men who weren’t used to hearing the word, ‘No.'”

Eldridge countered that Williams and Johnson were being prosecuted despite a lack of evidence because they are former Tennessee football players. Stephen Ross Johnson, who represents Johnson but isn’t related to him, said Nassios made an “emotional” argument “because they don’t have evidence.”

Defense lawyers argued that the woman had consensual sex with both men at the same time and then lied, claiming she had been raped. Stephen Ross Johnson said the woman was “locked into a lie” that had spun out of control.

“She regrets it,” Eldridge said. “Ladies and gentlemen, regret isn’t rape.”

The woman said she was with a friend visiting from out of state that night and that they went up to Johnson’s room with the two defendants. The woman has acknowledged having consensual sex with Johnson on two occasions prior to the night in question.

The woman said that Johnson immediately started having sex with her and that it shocked and scared her. Her friend testified that Williams was attempting to force her into sexual activity around the same time before she got away and left the room, though the friend opted against pressing charges.

But the charges against Johnson and Williams stemmed from what the woman says happened after her friend left the room. The two defendants took turns raping her at first before both raped her at the same time, she said.

FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2015, file photo, former University of Tennessee football players Michael Williams, right, and A.J. Johnson stand in court before the start of Williams’s rape trial in Knoxville, Tenn. Jurors acquitted Friday, July 27, 2018, the two former University of Tennessee football players who were indicted on aggravated rape charges nearly 3 1/2 years ago. (Michael Patrick/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP, File)

Defense lawyers cited a lack of a rape kit or other physical evidence, inconsistencies between what the woman said in court and what she’d told investigators earlier and discrepancies between the testimony of the woman and her friend. They mentioned how the woman and her friend both replaced their phones around the same time without preserving social-media communications, preventing the defense from obtaining that information.

And they noted how the woman initially told police she didn’t want the defendants arrested. The woman testified she was initially reluctant to press charges because she feared she wouldn’t be believed.

Nassios questioned why anyone would think the woman would lie about something like this. She noted the woman had “lost everything that mattered to her” through this situation.

“How would you think (she) was ever locked in a lie?” Nassios said. “How many steps has she had in her life since this has happened — 3 ½ years — to stop if she wanted to? Where is the motivation to perpetuate a lie?”

Johnson’s star power around Knoxville resulted from his status as a four-year starter at Tennessee whose 425 career tackles rank second among any Volunteer since the school started keeping track of the statistic in 1970. Johnson was considered a pro prospect, but his invitation to the 2015 NFL scouting combine was rescinded after his indictment.

Now he appears interested in reviving his football career. Johnson referred to comments from prosecutors and witnesses this week that he’d lost weight since the night of the party.

“I’ve been staying ready, staying in shape,” Johnson said. “They were saying… that I’m smaller now than I was back then, but actually I weigh 255 and I’m still ready to go.”




Longtime Vols broadcaster Ward honored at tribute ceremony

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer praised John Ward for bringing “life and feeling to our living rooms” during a tribute ceremony for the longtime Volunteers football and men’s basketball broadcaster.

Ward died June 20 in Knoxville at the age of 88. He served as the radio voice of Tennessee football and men’s basketball for over three decades before retiring.

The Wednesday night ceremony at Thompson-Boling Arena featured some of Ward’s most famous calls interspersed with tributes from former colleagues, players and coaches.

Fulmer recalled being a 16-year-old who drove “to find the highest hill in Winchester, Tennessee,” for the chance to listen to Ward’s broadcasts.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam sent a letter in which he wrote that “growing up in Knoxville as a UT sports fan, it is John Ward’s voice that is the backdrop to all those memories.” Former Tennessee and NFL star quarterback Peyton Manning sent a videotaped message in which he called Ward “an incredible human being” and “one of the great Tennessee Volunteers of all time.”

Ward became Tennessee’s radio play-by-play voice for men’s basketball in 1965 and started filling the same role for football three years later. He retired after the 1998-99 school year.

He started every game by saying “It’s Football Time In Tennessee” and would say “Give Him Six” after Tennessee touchdowns.

Ward was named Tennessee sportscaster of the year 28 times. He was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.




Holdsclaw leads Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame finalists

KNOXVILLE, Tenn – Chamique Holdsclaw, Tina Thompson and Katie Smith headline the 10 finalists for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame announced Thursday.

The three former WNBA stars were eligible for the first time this year.

Holdsclaw is Tennessee’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder and led the Lady Vols to national championships from 1996-98. Thompson helped the Houston Comets win the first four WNBA titles from 1997-2000. Katie Smith won three Olympic gold medals as well as two WNBA crowns.

Joining them as finalists are longtime assistant coaches Chris Dailey of UConn and Mickie DeMoss of Tennessee. They are the first two assistant coaches to be up for the Hall of Fame.

Dailey has spent the last 32 seasons as the top assistant at UConn, helping Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma and the Huskies win over 1,000 games and 11 national championships. DeMoss spent 20 years as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt at Tennessee as the team went 829-200 during her years there, winning six national championships.

Rights Reserved-Hillsboro Globe AP
Tennessee’s Chamique Holdsclaw (23) shoots over Western Kentucky’s Leslie Johnson (34) and Shea Lundsford (30) during the first half of their second round Womens NCAA Mideast regional game Monday, March 16, 1998 in Knoxville, Tenn.(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

The other finalists include former Colorado coach Ceal Barry, Russian player Yelena Baranova, Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer Valerie Still and Auburn’s Vickie Orr.

Barry won 510 games in her career over 26 seasons at Cincinnati and Colorado. She made 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and reached the regional final three times.

Baranova won a gold medal with the Unified Team in 1992 and was the 1998 European player of the year. Baranvoa’s team beat the U.S. in the semifinals of the Olympics in 1992. Orr was on that U.S. team. Orr starred at Auburn, helping the Tigers to two Final Fours.

Still was the first female to have her jersey retired at Kentucky in any sport.

Longtime New Jersey high school and college coach Rose Marie Battaglia is the 10th finalist. She, along with Baranova, were finalists last year as well.

The Hall of Fame will announce the 2018 class on Feb. 12. They will be enshrined on June 9 at the Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee.




Vols believe they can thrive amid lack of preseason acclaim

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee doesn’t mind adopting an underdog mentality a year after the Volunteers failed to meet preseason expectations.

The Volunteers have been picked to finish third in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Divisionby the league’s media. They didn’t have any first-team selections on the media’s preseason all-SEC team.

One year ago, Tennessee was the preseason East favorite but ended up splitting its eight conference games.

“Right now we’re in the weeds,” senior safety Todd Kelly Jr. said. “Nobody’s really seeing us, almost like a snake in the grass. Our goal is to end up biting somebody at the end of the day and making them pay.”

Tennessee will open preseason practice on July 29 needing to find a quarterback to replace Joshua Dobbs, who started 35 games over the last four seasons. It must find a new pass rusher following the loss of Philadelphia Eagles first-round draft pick Derek Barnett , the school’s all-time career sack leader.

Photo: Austin Hensley
2016 MCB UTK 38 v Nebraska 24

But the Vols also will be free from the weight of expectations that burdened last year’s team.

Tennessee was ranked ninth at the beginning of the season and raced to a 5-0 start before splitting its final eight games, including stunning defeats at South Carolina and Vanderbilt . An injury-riddled defense struggled to stop anyone down the stretch.

That sluggish finish and the uncertain quarterback situation could help explain why SEC media picked Tennessee to finish behind Georgia and defending division champion Florida in the East. Tennessee beat both Georgia and Florida last year.

Not only did Tennessee not have any first-team picks on the media’s preseason all-SEC team, the Vols’ only second-team selections were offensive lineman Jashon Robertson and return specialist Evan Berry.

“I just look at it as kind of irrelevant and go out and play my game,” tight end Ethan Wolf said. “Of course we don’t like hearing negative things about our team, but we’re going to come out and play as hard as we possibly can come Week 1, and the rankings, they’ll go from there.”

Other players say they’re using the lack of preseason acclaim as incentive.

“I think it’s definitely motivating,” defensive end Kyle Phillips said. “We don’t have all the, I guess you would say, the high-profile players. But we have heart. I’d say this team is probably the best team I’ve had since I’ve been here team-wise, chemistry-wise and (with) people working together and in leadership roles and things like that. I’m really excited about this season.”

Phillips and offensive lineman Jack Jones spent part of the summer among a contingent of Tennessee student-athletes visiting Vietnam and working with children in orphanages and volunteering at sports camps as part of the school’s VOLeaders program.

Both said they can apply the lessons they learned in Vietnam to football.

“Going over there and working with these kids in sport, you really see that sports can bring anyone together,” Jones said. “Stepping back, we’ve got all these new freshmen coming in, and they might be from all over the country, but football’s bringing us together.”