Tyler Bray-Da'Rick Rogers combo working

Game recap: Tennessee 27, Vanderbilt 21

The right hand of Tyler Bray clearly wasn't at full strength.

A healthy one for Da'Rick Rogers was enough to make up for it.

Bray's return at quarterback for Tennessee wasn't his finest outing, marked by a few wild throws and some clear rust after more than a month on the sideline with a broken thumb. But his sophomore receiver had nothing wrong with his big right paw, which was all he needed to tip and grab a game-turning touchdown in a 27-21 overtime win over Vanderbilt on Saturday night at Neyland Stadium.

"I knew I had to make a play for my seniors and this team," Rogers said. "The ball went in the air, I released, as soon as I tipped it, I'm like, 'Oh, my God. I'm fixing to catch this.' I just reached out, caught it, got two feet in and celebrated at the goal line.

"I mean, Tyler Bray is a warrior. He's a tough guy and even if his hand was hurting, he probably wouldn't have shown it or said anything about it. I think he handled it well, first game back from a broken hand, he was throwing it pretty good."

As long as Bray could get the ball somewhere in the general vicinity of his favorite target, that was good enough for Rogers as he consistently beat schemes designed to limit his impact to help the Vols (5-6, 1-6 SEC) knock off an instate rival and keep their bowl hopes alive heading into the last week of the regular season.

The Commodores (5-6, 2-6) were able to pressure Bray at times, and his accuracy wasn't as sharp as it was when he was picking apart defenses early in the season before banging his throwing hand into a helmet and having to sit out for five games. But he was able to regularly find Rogers and put a ball somewhere in his area — twice in the end zone on the way to 10 catches, 116 yards and the highlight reel.

"He did, (Bray) struggled a lot," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "I told you guys he wasn't going to look like his form from six weeks ago — but he made enough plays to win the game.

"(Rogers) has been playing good, but Tyler is his guy and they've got a little body language going. He made a great play on that fade."

Both of his scores required a bit of extra effort, though the second was packed with a lot more pressure and a higher degree of difficulty than the back-shoulder throw he had to make an adjustment on to snag for a 17-yard score in the second quarter.

With the Vols trailing and facing a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line in the fourth quarter, Bray lofted a ball to the right side of the formation with Rogers in a one-on-one matchup — and from there it was all up to him.

"He's a big-time receiver," Bray said. "He's going against a big-time corner, and he's got to make a play. I mean, we always have to win contested balls.

"I knew he was going to get it."

After initially bumping it slightly back to himself, Rogers eventually did just that thanks to a strong grip that had no physical limitations.

That certainly wasn't the case for Bray, who wasn't able to take snaps from under center, had to tinker with the gloves he was wearing to help control the football and forced a couple balls into coverage while completing 16 of 33 passes for 189 yards and two interceptions.

But he had at least one guy more than capable of lending a hand.

"The team morale went up when he came back, and it's good for everything," Rogers said. "I go out every game and give my all, just like I did tonight. It's just that Tyler Bray is an impact player, he's a playmaker and he really makes a lot of things look a lot easier than they are.

"With that help, it makes it a lot easier to score touchdowns and make plays."

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Comments » 24

kantanuuv writes:

Congratulations on a stunning upset of the mighty Commodores. CVDjr finally has his signature win.

CVDjr is guaranteed to be back next year. All the other SEC coaches are thankful for that.

alfrizzle097 writes:

How bad did Hunter getting injured hurt this offense? UT has no third receiver.

richvol writes:

DaRick had a monster game. How does he get so open when everyone in the stadium knows that Bray is going to throw it to him? He and Bray have a special connection for sure. If we had Hunter and Bray for the season I'm sure it would have made a great difference in this year's results. If we get Patterson to go with Hunter and DaRick for next year watch out.

Cobb_Webb_Attack writes:

I never thought I'd be so glad to get a win against Vanderbilt... I feel like a South Carolina fan!

That said, the defense played fantastic tonight. Wilcox should get more recognition for the work he's done preparing a very young defense against the toughest schedule in the SEC. The jury is still out on Dooley as a head coach, but Wilcox is the real deal.

ClassicVol (Inactive) writes:

in response to kantanuuv:

Congratulations on a stunning upset of the mighty Commodores. CVDjr finally has his signature win.

CVDjr is guaranteed to be back next year. All the other SEC coaches are thankful for that.

This guy must have just learned to copy and paste. Go look at his old post lol. Not much going on upstairs.

jandjhome#228397 writes:

I have been off Kool Aide for several weeks but after I got home last night I had a couple of Flasks.

writer#358485 writes:

Great win at a great time. Vandy was no push-over this year and likely won't be for years to come with Franklin. Yes, he showed out at the end. I remember Dooley still walking across the field both times we got shafted last year--that's class. He's a good coach now, and may be a great one in a few years when we have more Brays and Rogers. With his recruiting going well, we won't be so young and so thin for very long. In a couple of years, the big boys can start to worry! Go Vols, beat Kentucky!

SummittsCourt writes:

Their connection will only continue to grow and get better. Next year with Justin Hunter back and a more experienced O-Line and our freshman receivers a little more experienced. LOOK OUT SEC Defenses!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to kantanuuv:

Congratulations on a stunning upset of the mighty Commodores. CVDjr finally has his signature win.

CVDjr is guaranteed to be back next year. All the other SEC coaches are thankful for that.

WOW! We all know you are an idiot, thanks again for proving us right.

HsvVol writes:

in response to jandjhome#228397:

I have been off Kool Aide for several weeks but after I got home last night I had a couple of Flasks.

I love subtle humor. Great post and yes I Laughed Out Loud

Prostar writes:

Tyler still has to learn to NOT throw it into coverage like he did at the goal line to Rivera. That was almost a deal breaker for us. I didn't like Dooley's clock management at the end of regulation. We're deep in their territory with about 14 seconds to go, one time out and you waste 10 or 12 seconds, call time out and then take a knee. I expected at least one shot at the endzone.

WV_Vol writes:

in response to Prostar:

Tyler still has to learn to NOT throw it into coverage like he did at the goal line to Rivera. That was almost a deal breaker for us. I didn't like Dooley's clock management at the end of regulation. We're deep in their territory with about 14 seconds to go, one time out and you waste 10 or 12 seconds, call time out and then take a knee. I expected at least one shot at the endzone.

We weren't in their territory and we certainly weren't deep in their territory. We were on our own 45. Bray has a broken hand and probably can't throw it 55 yards. If you need to be negative, at least find something truthful to say. It was a good win for a young team that was struggling. Good win for Dooley and especially those 14 Seniors who have been through so much here. I'm very proud to be a Vol Fan!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Great win!

Now get after those Cats.

They played Ga tuff.

On to Lexington...

10SE writes:

in response to WV_Vol:

We weren't in their territory and we certainly weren't deep in their territory. We were on our own 45. Bray has a broken hand and probably can't throw it 55 yards. If you need to be negative, at least find something truthful to say. It was a good win for a young team that was struggling. Good win for Dooley and especially those 14 Seniors who have been through so much here. I'm very proud to be a Vol Fan!

We should have called the time out with 14 secontds, run one more play, and if successful, then attempted a field goal.
It all worked out, but the staff should learn these lessons.

ajwlfw#574737 writes:

Just a few words: We're still TENNESSEE! and they're still Vanderbilt.

UTKin1992 writes:

Even injured, Bray showed the "X Factor" he is blessed with. I could clearly see why the players react to his presence.

born2ride writes:

Da'Rick Rogers is the only bright spot in another dismal year.

movol53 writes:

in response to born2ride:

Da'Rick Rogers is the only bright spot in another dismal year.

It's better to have ONE bright spot than to be in a world like yours (Mr. Negative). GBO -- VFL

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

I tip my hat to the guys who stepped up big with those INTs and the fumble recovery that set up the big score. EG's INT in OT will garner most of the attention, but it was Wagner's INT to stop the Vandy drive that put UT in a position to win. I don't know how the rest of you felt, but Vandy looked poised to get into position for a FG attempt compliments of the soft coverage the UT defenders were giving Vandy. Even the commentators referred to their bewilderment over giving up so much space to Vandy's receivers. Da'Rick stepped up big with that acrobatic TD catch, and I couldn't help but think what if he had caught what seemed to be an easier catch from Worley in the SC game. Also felt like Worley may have been reassured from seeing Bray throw an INT at the goal which was returned 100 yds. Wasn't it just a week ago that he (Worley) threw one in the end zone against Ark? Not implying that Worley was glad about it, but reassured in that it can happen even to the starter. Once again, so happy for this team and the rest of BO nation with this win, even though I never thought that a win over Vandy could feel so much like a BCS victory.

lyafarre writes:

in response to Prostar:

Tyler still has to learn to NOT throw it into coverage like he did at the goal line to Rivera. That was almost a deal breaker for us. I didn't like Dooley's clock management at the end of regulation. We're deep in their territory with about 14 seconds to go, one time out and you waste 10 or 12 seconds, call time out and then take a knee. I expected at least one shot at the endzone.

Agree...Though he usually gets away with it when his arm strength's normal.

givehim6 writes:

Great win, and hopefuly another next weak also. Bray and the vols need 1 or 2 more targets for UK for defend.

dlobh writes:

in response to kantanuuv:

Congratulations on a stunning upset of the mighty Commodores. CVDjr finally has his signature win.

CVDjr is guaranteed to be back next year. All the other SEC coaches are thankful for that.

You're right - UT got their signature win for the 28th time out of 29 tries . . . wonder when Vandy will ever do anything?

Vandy's still Vandy . . .

nomietn#281095 writes:

Why is it that no one is talking about our QB committing a personal foul that resulted in a critical penalty to the team. After the game he admitted that the descipable underhanded act was a attempt to damage the Vandy player's knee. He's talented,self-centered, arrogant, and, apparently, stupid. If our coach is really into moral leadership and character building he should suspend Bray for the Ky. game.

Upgrayedd writes:

in response to nomietn#281095:

Why is it that no one is talking about our QB committing a personal foul that resulted in a critical penalty to the team. After the game he admitted that the descipable underhanded act was a attempt to damage the Vandy player's knee. He's talented,self-centered, arrogant, and, apparently, stupid. If our coach is really into moral leadership and character building he should suspend Bray for the Ky. game.

You should protest! Seriously! Might I suggest you hold your breath until he's suspended? Or maybe you could set yourself on fire outside of the football complex? Come on, man! Let 'em know how upset you are!

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