John Adams: Hang half a hundred is point taken

John Adams

If Tennessee had beaten Memphis 49-14 and Ole Miss 48-14, would Tennessee fans be as excited about their sudden outburst of offense? I don't think so.

But 50-14 and 52-14 victories? That's different.

I'm not sure why the gap between 49 and 50 points is so pronounced in college football. Perhaps it's because former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer never threatened to hang "two fifths of a 100" on an overmatched opponent. But "half a hundred" still resonates.

"Let's hang half a hundred on 'em" became the Sooners' pregame rallying cry in the Switzer era (1973-88) during which they scored 50 or more points 29 times. Sometimes they hit 50 and didn't slow down, as members of the 1980 Colorado team might remember. The Buffaloes had the distinction of scoring 42 points on Oklahoma and losing by 40.

In what would be considered the live-ball era of UT football, 50 points wasn't such a big deal. The 1912 Vols opened the season by hanging a full 100 plus one on King, the 1915 Vols matched that against Carson-Newman, and the 1913 team opened the season with 58-0, 95-0 and 75-0 victories.

Bet those teams didn't open the season with an all-new offensive line and add a true freshman quarterback for the last third of the season.

While no one should be taken aback by UT's 4-6 record, so many other numbers don't add up with this team. For example, who would have thought a team incapable of winning an SEC game in September or October would score 52 points against Ole Miss?

That's the third time this season UT has scored 50 or more points in a game. Only six other teams in school history have accomplished that.

Freshman quarterback Tyler Bray has been the most prominent figure in the last two 50-point productions. In the last two and a half games - two of which he started - he has thrown 10 touchdown passes.

The stat becomes even more impressive when you contrast it with the production of other SEC quarterbacks, only seven of whom have thrown for more touchdowns.

Imagine if you had predicted in preseason that Bray wouldn't start until the ninth game of the season, yet would throw more touchdown passes than Florida's John Brantley. The most likely response would have been: "Yeah, if Brantley suffers a season-ending injury in September."

It hasn't worked out that way.

Brantley has thrown 280 passes, but only eight for touchdowns. Ten of Bray's 114 passes have gone for touchdowns.

Bray has thrown more touchdown passes than UT's Matt Simms, who started the first eight games, as well as Mississippi State's Chris Relf and LSU's Jordan Jefferson, both season-long starters. Bray has only two fewer touchdown passes than Ole Miss' Jeremiah Masoli and four fewer than South Carolina's Stephen Garcia.

Bray's numbers also are noteworthy when you compare them to former UT quarterbacks.

Sophomore Heath Shuler threw 10 touchdown passes in his first season as a starter. Freshman Peyton Manning, who started seven games in 1994, threw 11 touchdown passes that season. Casey Clausen threw 15 touchdown passes as a freshman starter, and Erik Ainge threw 17.

That's not to suggest Bray will have a comparable career to any of those guys. It's just to put his recent touchdown production in perspective.

There should be more touchdown passes to come for Bray in the last two regular-season games. Up next is Vanderbilt, which is last in the SEC in total defense. Then comes Kentucky, which is allowing 34.6 points per game in league play.

Bray isn't the only Vol with surprising statistics. Who would have thought Tauren Poole in his first season as a starter would have more yards rushing at this juncture than either Mark Ingram or Trent Richardson of Alabama?

Or that Denarius Moore would have as many touchdown receptions (seven) as South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery and three more than Alabama's Julio Jones?

Freshman wide receiver Justin Hunter also has more touchdown receptions (five) than Jones, even though he has caught just 14 passes overall. Hunter has more touchdown receptions than anyone on Florida's team, and only 56 fewer receiving yards than Deonte Thompson, who leads the Gators in that category.

Hunter, Moore, Poole and Bray have accumulated those statistics behind an offensive line that has relied heavily on four freshmen and two sophomores, which bodes well for the UT offenses to come.

But this is no time to be looking too far ahead. The 2010 Vols still have two more chances to hang half a hundred on somebody.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at htpp://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 53

1bigvolman writes:

WOW! That was an eye opening article. The future is bright for the Big Orange!

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

This article just goes to show how misleading statistics cand be. If you had told all of us this in September, folks would suspect a 7-3, 6-4 type team. This just goes to show how wild and unpredictable the great sport of football is. Look for UT to "pound the rock" early and often against the Dores. Poole will wear them down and set up the pass for later in the game. UT-41 Vandy-13

tnsportsman writes:

Goes to show you how a YOUNG VOLS Team is growing up right in front of the VOLNATION!

Hell, OUR VOLS have played one of the most Grueling 6 game schedules with Top Teams in the country! And one of those teams (LSU) was a win if we could have counted! All part of growing into a good team VOLS!

No problem VOLS, win these next 2 games! VOLS, stay focused and protect the damn ball, you guys will do fine against Vaaaanderbilt and the Kittens!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

BigBadVol writes:

Great article! It's amazing what Bray and this team have accomplished recently. The future is bright. Once a Vol always a Vol!

HoustonVol writes:

It is not fair to compare Sims' production to Bray's production. Sims played a gauntlet of defenses that ripping our O-line apart. Where Bray has faced two defenses that could not rip up a paper bag. I am glad that we had Sims' steady hand to start the season, but I do feel that the future has more potential with Bray as our QB.

TommyJack writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OR, he may have been broken in two.

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I believe it goes something like "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, it would be Christmas everyday." I do see what you are saying. IMO we would still be 4-6. Anyone who thinks there would've been a drastic difference doesnt' know one flip about UT football. Which game would we have won? LSU, maybe. USC, no. Georgia, no. Alabama, no. Florida, no. Oregon, no. Point being, let's be happy he didn't start those games and has stellar confidence heading into the last 2 games of the season. If he starts the whole year, idk if our fan base, Bray, and whole team is as energized as they are right now. Everything happens for a reason. Bray missed a lot of open receivers in the last game. The pass interference would have been a TD to D-MO if he gets his feet set, he threw behind receivers, and missed Rodgers on some streaks. He's just a freshman folks! Just wait until he really fills out! GBO

AncientVolFan writes:

in response to TommyJack:

OR, he may have been broken in two.

As a fan only, I suspect, broken in two is about right if Bray had played earlier. Just musing, I wonder when Dooley (want to type Dickey and reveal my age) made the decision?

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to AncientVolFan:

As a fan only, I suspect, broken in two is about right if Bray had played earlier. Just musing, I wonder when Dooley (want to type Dickey and reveal my age) made the decision?

He probably had a good feeling this would happen heading into Summer Camps.

springtx_vol writes:

Not to say what if (too much), but

- If we could have stopped UF's fake punt.
- If we could have counted against LSU.

We could have been 6-4 at this point with 2 very winnable games to go 8-4. If you go back to my posts before the year, I said that 8-4 was possible. I also said that 5-7 was possible.

I am very pleased with the way this team has played outside of 4 quarters (second half against Oregon and Alabama) and the Georgia game. We have absolutely improved over the year. That is all any fan could ask!

GBO

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Exactly, so why dwell on it? Point being, this season is about taking the cards we've been dealt and playing them as efficiently as we can. Bray was dreadful against UTM with one completion and an INT vs their 2nd team. You can't honestly tell me right after that game you were screaming for him to start heading into Oregon and Florida?

Also, can we please keep in mind the competition we were up against? Memphis's pass defense ranks 117 out of 120 and Ole Miss's passing defense ranks 95 out of 120. The kid looks good, but don't call the offense explosive when the defenses we have goon up against are dreadful. THe most important thing at play right now is experience and confidence.

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to springtx_vol:

Not to say what if (too much), but

- If we could have stopped UF's fake punt.
- If we could have counted against LSU.

We could have been 6-4 at this point with 2 very winnable games to go 8-4. If you go back to my posts before the year, I said that 8-4 was possible. I also said that 5-7 was possible.

I am very pleased with the way this team has played outside of 4 quarters (second half against Oregon and Alabama) and the Georgia game. We have absolutely improved over the year. That is all any fan could ask!

GBO

Still too many ifs lol.

OrangePride writes:

HEY! What's this now? JA lauding Tennessee players and stacking them up favorably against the vaunted Alabummer and Florida boys? Boy, this is a red-letter day in Tennessee history. So good article John....keep em coming. GO VOLS!

cloudodust writes:

in response to HoustonVol:

It is not fair to compare Sims' production to Bray's production. Sims played a gauntlet of defenses that ripping our O-line apart. Where Bray has faced two defenses that could not rip up a paper bag. I am glad that we had Sims' steady hand to start the season, but I do feel that the future has more potential with Bray as our QB.

CDD et al timed it pretty much perfectly IMHO. Not to say we still won't see freshman mistakes from Bray but CDD had to work him in slowly for many reasons. All in all, CDD knew the emphasis was on tomorrow and he's building for that. I can't bad-mouth anything Simms has done or didn't do to help this team along...btw, I think the coaching staff has begun to mesh nicely as well...

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

I still can't believe how many of you think 2-3 games would've been won had Bray started all year... Carolina? Remember who threw a pick 6 and got sacked as many times as Simms did in that game?

Not trying to be a debbie downer yall, but lets just be happy with what we have gotten and EARNED and move on to Vandy. Looking back to September is WEAK.
GBO

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Its hard to win in the SEC without an OL, DL, more than a QB. I still do not see how our team is better than our record? Which game (please do not say LSU) leads you to believe we are so much better than 4-6? Maybe if we had not played Oregon and scheduled a cup cake we would be 5-5, and if WE don't screw up against LSU... But seriously, where are these miracle wins? I think 6-6 is right where this team deserves to be, right where the media picked it, and right where the majority of fans saw us finishing. Did you see the pass defense stats for Memphis High and Poor Miss? 95th and 117.... Compare that to Bama, Florida, Carolina, Oregon, LSU... Come on now brotha.

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Also remember who had us in contention despite his turnovers before Bray went in.... I'm pretty sure Bray's INT was the dagger.

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

Take away Bray's pick six and 3 sacks and we probably beat USC, kill James and we beat Oregon, Florida decides to go to the beach and we beat them, AJ Green sells his jersey off his back during the UT game so we beat them, LSU feels sorry for us for not being able to count and we beat them, Alabama plays with a blind fold on and we win in OT vs. them... You can say that all day, the fact of the matter is we have earned our 4-6 effort due to youth, inexperience, not capitalizing on drives, and not keeping the defense fresh due to stalls. We're one half away, but not as close as you think we are to being 6-4.

UTME06 writes:

Did anyone notice that Adams got benched after his 3 bama is the greatest team of all time articles during bama week? Well now he's back... full demotion in hand, trying to make friends with the big orange nation.

Too late John. You lost me a long time ago.

Let's everyone settle down a bit and take this one game at a time. I too have visions of a top 20 performance next year, and applaud Dooley and Co for making what looks like great decisions this year as far as the QB situation goes.

But remember that we are both Vandy's and Kuntuc's bowl games. We will get their best. A weak showing in practice, and looking ahead, or getting a big head will lead to MAJOR disappointment.

We've been better than advertised all season. Now we are showing it, but the team can't let that get to their heads or we'll lay an egg a la UAB.

Focus. Relax.

Go Vols!

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

By the way Simms had a better completion percentage, and passer rating than Bray. He just happened to fumble twice on blind side hits where the backs and OL missed blocks. Some of it was his fault for not releasing the ball. But you try to justify taking out a guy that was 10-13 for 150+ yards at half with a TD. Not easy.

UTME06 writes:

By the way... Simms is a trooper. He took a freaking beating, and personally, I will always be appreciative for him coming into this tough situation and filling a huge gap for us. He has been one helll of a Vol. I hope he will be focused and prepared next year in case we need him. Otherwise, we owe him a couple years of position coaching experience after he graduates!

CollegeParkVol writes:

I wish the Orlando Sentinel would run this story...I know it would just chap the a** of every Gator down here that our Freshman QB has more TD passes than Brantley. Nice article John.

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to UTME06:

By the way... Simms is a trooper. He took a freaking beating, and personally, I will always be appreciative for him coming into this tough situation and filling a huge gap for us. He has been one helll of a Vol. I hope he will be focused and prepared next year in case we need him. Otherwise, we owe him a couple years of position coaching experience after he graduates!

Thank you Lord for some common sense. Amen.

orangecountyvols writes:

Guys, let's not take Saturday night for granted. Too many times in the past we've played down to Vandy's level and they've done the opposite...........thus making what we were led to believe would be a 40-0 game, and it turns out 14-13. We don't want that to happen.

We keep talking about the probable win over LSU way back earlier..............if we could have counted.
Only reason I'm mentioning this is................
think about it. The Tigers offensive line looked up and saw what seemed like 50 guys in Orange across from them. Little wonder they panicked and screwed up the snap etc. Had we only had the correct amt. there maybe the Chinese fire drill play may not have occurred. Sorry for bringing it up but nobody has ever looked at it that way.

Hey guys, appreciate anyone updating us with recruiting opinions and injury reports.

Go Vols !!!!!!!!!

tovolny writes:

Good posts, everybody. Fun article, JA.

murrayvol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

OR, he may have been broken in two.

My sentiments exactly.

cloudodust writes:

in response to murrayvol:

My sentiments exactly.

Should be everybody's sentiment

murrayvol writes:

Has there been an FU troll sighting that I've missed? The silence is deafening.

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Has there been an FU troll sighting that I've missed? The silence is deafening.

I was wondering the same thing! Maybe everyone is saving up their energy for later in the week?

rkw2 writes:

in response to CollegeParkVol:

I wish the Orlando Sentinel would run this story...I know it would just chap the a** of every Gator down here that our Freshman QB has more TD passes than Brantley. Nice article John.

I agree. I'm living in Orlando right now, but born and raised in Big Orange Country. ALWAYS proud to be a Vol...though Vol vs. Gator Saturday...it's a lonely day for me. My in-laws are from here in Orlando. But I'm still ALL VOL through and through!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Has there been an FU troll sighting that I've missed? The silence is deafening.

This is the annual jort washing and stashing away week in Gatorland.

CoverOrange writes:

Does this mean JA will vote Bray as best QB in the SEC-E, ahead of his preseason pick of Brantley? Doubt it.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Guys, let's not take Saturday night for granted. Too many times in the past we've played down to Vandy's level and they've done the opposite...........thus making what we were led to believe would be a 40-0 game, and it turns out 14-13. We don't want that to happen.

We keep talking about the probable win over LSU way back earlier..............if we could have counted.
Only reason I'm mentioning this is................
think about it. The Tigers offensive line looked up and saw what seemed like 50 guys in Orange across from them. Little wonder they panicked and screwed up the snap etc. Had we only had the correct amt. there maybe the Chinese fire drill play may not have occurred. Sorry for bringing it up but nobody has ever looked at it that way.

Hey guys, appreciate anyone updating us with recruiting opinions and injury reports.

Go Vols !!!!!!!!!

There's no reason to look at it that way because the LSU center admitted he snapped the ball early to avoid letting the clock run out. If we had only one player out there the result likely would have been the same.

jdcdjc writes:

in response to HoustonVol:

It is not fair to compare Sims' production to Bray's production. Sims played a gauntlet of defenses that ripping our O-line apart. Where Bray has faced two defenses that could not rip up a paper bag. I am glad that we had Sims' steady hand to start the season, but I do feel that the future has more potential with Bray as our QB.

Lets not forget the SC game, Bray had more offense in less time than Sims. I like what Sims has done but you must be forgetting what Bray did against a very good SC defense.

BAFLETCHER writes:

Off topic. Here is agood article on Tauren Poole:
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20...

BAFLETCHER writes:

in response to BAFLETCHER:

Off topic. Here is agood article on Tauren Poole:
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20...

"a good"

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

While scoring in excess of 50 pts. in back to back games is a real morale and confidence booster, I'm sure the coaches will keep these young men grounded when they review game film with them. Houston Nutt could play the "what if" game all day with justification. What if Masoli does not throw 2 pick sixes and what if Ol Ms. recovers the 2 muffed punts. That's a potential 28 point swing and a game changing outcome. One of the Ol Ms. scoring drives took only 5 plays. In other words, while the final score was gaudy, I did not see domination; but, of course, domination is not the objective. While anyone with any football savvy would realize that there is still a lot of room for improvement and that these last 2 games are definitely not going to be a gimme, it has certainly been a whole lot more fun to watch this team score tds instead of settling for fgs. I can only imagine what this has done for the psyche of both players and coaches. But like other posters have cautioned, this is certainly no time to become cocky and overconfident as TP's actions indicated after his second td. Keep hungry and keep humble and they will take care of business.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Guys, let's not take Saturday night for granted. Too many times in the past we've played down to Vandy's level and they've done the opposite...........thus making what we were led to believe would be a 40-0 game, and it turns out 14-13. We don't want that to happen.

We keep talking about the probable win over LSU way back earlier..............if we could have counted.
Only reason I'm mentioning this is................
think about it. The Tigers offensive line looked up and saw what seemed like 50 guys in Orange across from them. Little wonder they panicked and screwed up the snap etc. Had we only had the correct amt. there maybe the Chinese fire drill play may not have occurred. Sorry for bringing it up but nobody has ever looked at it that way.

Hey guys, appreciate anyone updating us with recruiting opinions and injury reports.

Go Vols !!!!!!!!!

Good point. Not only that, but on the play where LSU actually did score, Nick Reveiz met the LSU back right in the hole, dived at him, and missed the tackle. Reveiz and Prentiss Waggoner both whiffed on Jefferson on his long TD run on the first play from scrimmage. I love both of those guys, but maybe the Vols were just fated not to win that game. Everything happens in its own time, and I think we should all be proud of the progress the team has made this year.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Does this mean JA will vote Bray as best QB in the SEC-E, ahead of his preseason pick of Brantley? Doubt it.

IMHO, that would USC's Garcia at this point. Bray may be a strong candidate for Offensive Freshman of the Year, however.

allvols4life writes:

in response to johnlg00:

IMHO, that would USC's Garcia at this point. Bray may be a strong candidate for Offensive Freshman of the Year, however.

I love Bray, but I think that Offensive Freshman of the Year goes to Marcus Lattimore. Bray could very well be on the all freshman team and probably deserves to be if he finishes the season off the way he has played the past 2 games.

richvol writes:

in response to GiveHim6TDTennessee:

I believe it goes something like "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, it would be Christmas everyday." I do see what you are saying. IMO we would still be 4-6. Anyone who thinks there would've been a drastic difference doesnt' know one flip about UT football. Which game would we have won? LSU, maybe. USC, no. Georgia, no. Alabama, no. Florida, no. Oregon, no. Point being, let's be happy he didn't start those games and has stellar confidence heading into the last 2 games of the season. If he starts the whole year, idk if our fan base, Bray, and whole team is as energized as they are right now. Everything happens for a reason. Bray missed a lot of open receivers in the last game. The pass interference would have been a TD to D-MO if he gets his feet set, he threw behind receivers, and missed Rodgers on some streaks. He's just a freshman folks! Just wait until he really fills out! GBO

Agree with everything you said. Bray did miss a lot of open receivers in that game...He was not particularly sharp. He did make some great throws though. They are bringing him along just fine.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to johnlg00:

IMHO, that would USC's Garcia at this point. Bray may be a strong candidate for Offensive Freshman of the Year, however.

Agree. Was obvious it was going to be Garcia at the beginning of the season but JA believed the hype on Brantley.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to AncientVolFan:

As a fan only, I suspect, broken in two is about right if Bray had played earlier. Just musing, I wonder when Dooley (want to type Dickey and reveal my age) made the decision?

He probably made the decision about a month ago based on Simms lack of execution and the fact that Tyler was actually spending extra time studying film and getting the offense down. Tyler probably would have started the UTM game had he done the same over the summer.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to allvols4life:

I love Bray, but I think that Offensive Freshman of the Year goes to Marcus Lattimore. Bray could very well be on the all freshman team and probably deserves to be if he finishes the season off the way he has played the past 2 games.

You're right, Lattimore has been a stud this year. I would settle for Tyler as the all-freshman QB. He could make it without even having to top 300 yards against either Vandy or UK as long as the Vols win, he hits a good percentage of his passes, and he doesn't make too many turnovers.

VOLliven2it writes:

It's all good news to me to hear our guys are making catches, rushing well, scoring tds. I just want all that to continue. I can't change the past. I can look back and speculate. I'd rather look ahead and say, "LET'S GO VOLS! TWO MORE WINS AND WE GET A BOWL!" It's not the kind I get potatoe chips out of either!

VolO writes:

in response to VOLliven2it:

It's all good news to me to hear our guys are making catches, rushing well, scoring tds. I just want all that to continue. I can't change the past. I can look back and speculate. I'd rather look ahead and say, "LET'S GO VOLS! TWO MORE WINS AND WE GET A BOWL!" It's not the kind I get potatoe chips out of either!

You voted for Bush/Quayle didn't you? LMAO.
GBO!

DancingOutlaw writes:

I think Dooley played this as well as you could. He put in his most experienced QB for our most difficult games, that was our best chance. To think that Bray would have thrown all over UF or Bama is quite naive in my opinion. So far he has lit up Memphis, Ole Miss, and a prevent USC defense. None of these teams have the size or speed on defense that UF or Bama do. He is a good qb, excellent arm, the reads will come in time. He certainly threw behind some receivers saturday, but he makes good progressive reads and is elusive for his size. That being said I still think Simms was our best chance for the first half of the season, and the outcomes wouldn't have been much different. As some have said, it could have been much worse. Consider the pounding Simms has taken in some of those games. Granted he has a tendency to hold onto the ball so perhaps he brings it upon himself. But even if that is the case and 50% of it is his fault, can you imagine Bray taking even half of those hits? He could be seriously injured by this point. We have taken our lumps, we weathered this storm of a schedule as best we could. Now we look forward to two winnable games and a bowl chance.

murrayvol writes:

in response to VOLstuckINky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes he will. It's in his job description.

murrayvol writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

This is the annual jort washing and stashing away week in Gatorland.

Thought they might be involved in a wake for Addazio but it seems Urban will stay the course.

And why not....he every bit as good as Sanders.

VolFanInMO writes:

in response to UTME06:

By the way... Simms is a trooper. He took a freaking beating, and personally, I will always be appreciative for him coming into this tough situation and filling a huge gap for us. He has been one helll of a Vol. I hope he will be focused and prepared next year in case we need him. Otherwise, we owe him a couple years of position coaching experience after he graduates!

I agree 100%, UTME06. Very good post. Simms is one tough guy and deserves credit for always coming back for more. Hopefully all Vols will be like that.

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