Game recap: Tennessee 24, MTSU 0
Tennessee Stat Book
It was an hour before kickoff Saturday night at Neyland Stadium and Tennessee coach Derek Dooley was out of kickers. Literally.
Naturally, he called Fraternity Row.
"(Michael) Palardy was hurt," Dooley said after the Vols' 24-0 victory against Middle Tennessee State. "He hurt himself Thursday in practice but we thought he'd be fine. He couldn't go. Then (Chip) Rhome goes out there in pregame and he pulls a muscle."
Good thing for Dooley and the Vols, Derrick Brodus wasn't busy.
"We didn't have a kicker," Dooley said. "And we had to make a call to the frat house. This is no lie. We called the frat house and had a policeman go get him."
Another plus for the Vols: Brodus was sober.
"Let's get a call to Brodus," Dooley recalled telling his staff, "and it's a good thing he wasn't having too much Saturday afternoon (fun). I told the coaches, 'Hey, an intoxicated Brodus is better than nobody.
"Just get him here and we'll do a Breathalyzer. Fortunately, he didn't have anything bad."
Brodus said he got the call around 6:10 p.m., just 50 minutes before kickoff.
"I was just laying on the couch watching football," Brodus said. "Honestly, I didn't know what was going on.
"I thought it was a dream. I was just laying down on the couch relaxing. I answered the phone and they just told me to come to the stadium as soon as possible."
Brodus managed to suit up in time to make good on all three of his point-after attempts. His 21-yard field goal as time expired on the first half helped build Tennessee's halftime lead over Middle Tennessee State to 24-0.
"He suits up and nails three PATs and a field goal," Dooley said, "so he gets the game ball. I was proud of him."
Brodus, a Maryville native, was part of two state-championship football teams at Alcoa High School. He also was an All-State soccer player for the Tornadoes.
"I'm not quite 21 yet," Brodus said, when asked about Dooley's Breathalyzer comments.
"It's a great story," Dooley said. "I'm going to write a book one day about the things that have happened to me in the last two years.
"I've never had that one."
The Search Continues: Tennessee has been looking for a running back all season. That search reached redshirt freshman Jaron Toney on Saturday night.
"I wanted to see Jaron Toney," Dooley said. "We are searching the running game."
Toney, an Alcoa teammate of Brodus' and the 2009 PrepXtra Player of the Year, got his first action in an orange jersey, leading all Tennessee running backs with 19 carries for 52 yards.
Tennessee - Brodus 21 Yd FG vs MTSU
"Jaron has really run well in practice for a long time," Dooley said. "He is a walk-on so you just always dismiss him. But we are not lighting it up running the ball and I wanted to see Jaron.
"I should have played him last week."
Toney said he didn't expect the heavy workload, but he loved the chance.
"I'm thankful to get (the carries)," Toney said. "I was just trying to find a crease here and there. I had to get my way through them. It was just a great opportunity.
"It felt good that they had the confidence in me."
Toney was the 2009 Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year at Alcoa. He was a Class AA Mr. Football Finalist in 2009, when he scored a TSSAA-record 50 touchdowns and rushed for 2,358 yards in his senior season.
Legends on of the Game: Former center Jeff Smith and former running back Richard Pickens were honored as Tennessee's Legend of the Game.
Smith started all 48 games in his career at UT (1992-95), snapping to a pair of Heisman Trophy runner-up quarterbacks in Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning.
Pickens lettered in 1966-68 had 1,644 rushing yards in his career.
Bray Injury Update: Vols quarterback Tyler Bray said after the game the cast on his fractured thumb would come off Monday. The injury to the thumb also will be reevaluated Monday.
Grant Ramey is a freelance contributor.