KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – No. 15 Tennessee followed up its big road win over Pitt with a dominant performance against Akron.
Tennessee improves to 3-0 on the season after defeating the Zips, 63-6.
Tennessee opened its first drive of the game with an 11-yard run by Jabari Small. The running back rushed for another 3 yards before leaving the game with an injury. The Vols continued down the field with 12 carries for 41 yards to come up short on the opening drive. Kicker Chase McGrath missed a 47-yard field goal, his first of the season, to keep the game scoreless.
The Vols went to work on defense. Bryon Young pressured Akron quarterback DJ Irons to force a quick three-and-out. Tennessee capitalized on the ensuing drive. Jaylen Wright accounted for Small on the run and capped a 7-play drive with a 2-yard run to give the Vols an early 7-0 lead. Tennessee kept its foot on the gas. True freshman Dylan Sampson found the end zone on a speed option play to give the Vols a 14-0 lead to close the first quarter.
Tennessee continued to dominate in the second quarter. Hooker flashed his arm to open the second quarter and connected with Jalin Hyatt on a 57-yard touchdown to give the Vols a 21-0 lead. Hooker has completed a touchdown in 15 straight games. The Vols found the end zone again. Sampson found the checkered orange and white with an 11-yard rush option play to extend UT’s lead, 28-0. Senior wideout Cedric Tillman exited the game early with a lower-body injury, so Hyatt became Hooker’s primary target on the night. Hooker connected with Hyatt for a 48-yard touchdown pass to give Tennessee a 34-0 lead over Akron at the half.
The Vols opened the third quarter with a one-yard run up the middle for his second touchdown of the night. McGrath was automatic on the extra point attempt to extend the Vols’ lead to 42-0. Akron avoided the shutout by completing a 35-yard field goal to get on the board, 42-3. Tennessee’s defense stifled every shred of momentum from Akron. The Tennessee front produced three straight sacks during Akron’s third drive of the quarter, including two by senior linebacker Elijah Herring. Joe Milton III came under center and completed a deep 57-yard pass to Ramel Keyton to extend UT’s lead, 49-3 to end the third quarter.
Milton continued to show off his armball in the fourth quarter. Milton completed a 38-yard pass up the middle to sophomore Walker Merrill for Milton’s second touchdown of the night to make it a 56-3 game. Akron managed to score 6 total points, but only through spurts. Tayven Jackson took over for Milton on the Vols’ final drive of the game. The rookie capped off the night with his first appearance in orange and white. Jackson called his own number with a 1-yard run to cap the Vols’ scoring.
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