Game recap: Tennessee 7, Arkansas 49
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The temperature and foliage were suitable for October. So was Tennessee's performance Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The Vols didn't look much different on the second Saturday of November than they did in losing four consecutive SEC games in October. And the eighth-ranked Razorbacks were more than capable of capitalizing on UT's wide range of shortcomings in a 49-7 victory.
While the results were October-like, the game was altogether different from the drubbings administered by No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Alabama. The latest venture into the top 10 was even more embarrassing.
The Vols' lack of effort was as obvious as their lack of talent in the second half in which the Razorbacks scored 28 unanswered points, often with ridiculous ease.
The Tide and Tigers took a more methodical approach in 38-7 and 37-6 victories last month. The Razorbacks played as though they were auditioning for SportsCenter.
Joe Adams will have no trouble making it. But don't give him all the credit for a spectacular 60-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the first quarter.
Tennessee Stat Book
Remember all the damage Florida kick returner Brandon James once inflicted on the Vols? Even he never made them look this bad.
More than half the UT defense had a shot at Adams within about a 10-yard range. Back and forth he ran, practically taunting the would-be tacklers, all of whom eventually fell by the wayside as Adams raced down the sideline to the roaring approval of the crowd.
That wasn't the only play in which the talent gap was magnified.
The Vols threatened to make a game of it for a half. Sound familiar?
They had the ball for more than twice as long as Arkansas. They also had three more first downs and 46 more yards passing than the best passing team in the SEC.
But even in the best of times, they probably didn't trick anyone into thinking they would be competitive against a top-10 team for 60 minutes. If they had, Arkansas could have quickly dispelled such a notion.
UT didn't have a receiver like Adams or a passer like Tyler Wilson, who hooked up on a 40-yard, third-quarter touchdown that was worthy of the NFL Network.
Nor did it have a running back the caliber of Dennis Johnson, who appeared faster and stronger than anyone on UT's defense when he ran 71 and 15 yards for touchdowns. Not bad for a backup.
Johnson became the starter when All-SEC running back Knile Davis suffered a season-ending injury in preseason. He now has averaged almost 100 yards per game rushing for the last four games.
UT couldn't compete with that caliber of running. And it couldn't compete with Arkansas' energy in the second half.
It's nothing unusual for these Vols to be outplayed in the second half. In fact, it's expected.
But this second-half collapse was more blatant and more discouraging for a fan base weary of the team's lack of competitiveness against the SEC's better teams.
Broderick Green, Arkansas' third-string running back, had a 40-yard run before catching a 10-yard pass and hurdling a defender for his team's sixth touchdown. De'Anthony Curtis, a fourth-string tailback, scored the seventh touchdown on a 26-yard run.
The Vols practically ushered their opponent into the end zone on the last two touchdowns. Their letdown wouldn't have been more obvious if they had waved a white flag.
Conspiracy theorists in the Tennessee crowd might wonder if there was a method to the second-half mishaps.
UT plays in-state rival Vanderbilt on Saturday. Maybe its goal was to make the Commodores overconfident.