Game recap: LSU 38, Tennessee 7
Box score: UT vs. LSU
Tennessee Stat Book
Tennessee sophomore receiver Da'Rick Rogers was doing some jawing Saturday afternoon — particularly with LSU cornerback/nickelback Tyrann Mathieu — but he didn't have much to say after the game.
Actually, Rogers wasn't made available for media interviews after LSU rolled the Vols 38-7 in an SEC game at Neyland Stadium.
"I just think (it was) young, spirited guys," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said of the banter between players. "They've got a bunch of young spirit, and we've got some, too. I don't think it was anything malicious, just competitive, spirited guys wanting to compete."
Rogers caught three passes — which accounted for half of the completions by senior quarterback Matt Simms — for 63 yards.
Young Tacklers: Three of the Vols' top four tacklers against LSU were true freshmen — starting weak-side linebacker A.J. Johnson (11 tackles), backup free safety Brian Randolph (nine tackles) and starting strong-side linebacker Curt Maggitt (seven tackles). Randolph had a team-high eight solo tackles.
"They're going to be really good players, all three of those guys, and right now they're not," Dooley said. "They don't have the physicality to hold up in this kind of game, I don't think, because they're young, their bodies, but A.J. and Curt, especially A.J., especially has more physicality than anybody we have in the back seven."
Johnson had four solo tackles and seven assists.
"I told you all this was going to be his kind of game," Dooley said. "He's got stature (Johnson is 6-foot-3, 245 pounds) that can compete against these kinds of teams, and that's what we have to keep improving on."
No Turnovers: The Vols got no turnovers against LSU, which got two turnovers from the Vols — both on interceptions by Simms. Neither team fumbled the ball.
UT only has two takeaways since the season opener against Montana when it got three (two fumbles, one interception).
Since then, the Vols have only two recovered fumbles — one against Florida and another against Buffalo.
"It means we're not creating any (turnovers), and they're not giving us any," Dooley said. "That's about what it is. We're not creating any, and we're not getting any by accident."
Last year, the Vols won the turnover battle against LSU when they got four (three interceptions and a fumble recovery) and the Tigers had no takeaways. LSU won 16-14 in a controversial finish.
Young Returns: Devrin Young, a true freshman from Bearden High School, started the game with a 36-yard kickoff return and had a 60-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter after LSU had taken a 31-7 lead.
Young bobbled a kickoff early in the second quarter, but managed to return it 10 yards.
"He's doing good," Dooley said of Young. "He had a couple of good returns."
Young caught a shovel pass from Simms during the Vols' second drive and turned it into a 21-yard gain.
He also had two carries for minus-5 yards.
After his 10-yard kickoff return, Young took a handoff from Simms on the Vols' next offensive play, took a hard hit from LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo, and was thrown for a 7-yard loss.
Young wobbled off the field after the play.
"He got dinged up one time pretty bad, and we were a little nervous to get him back out there," Dooley said. "We shouldn't have put him back in."
Streak Snapped: UT's defense held LSU to a scoreless first quarter — snapping the Tigers' streak of 31 consecutive quarters with a score dating back to 2010.
On the last play of the first quarter, Spencer Ware was stopped for no gain on first-and-goal at the Vols' 5. LSU scored on the first play of the second quarter on Jarrett Lee's 5-yard pass to Rueben Randle.
Waggner Lick: UT free safety Prentiss Waggner left the game in the second quarter after trying to make a tackle on LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, who bowled over Waggner for a 9-yard gain before being tackled by Austin Johnson. Waggner returned later.
"I just did horrible technique leading in with my head," Waggner said.
Dave Link is a freelance contributor.