Raining big plays: Tennessee beats Montana, 42-16

Offense explosive in opener, but some issues are revealed

Adam Brimer/news sentinel
Tennessee running back Tauren Poole dives into the end zone for a touchdown as Montana's Alex Shaw tries to stop him during the second quarter of the Vols' 42-16 victory over the Grizzlies on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2011

Adam Brimer/news sentinel Tennessee running back Tauren Poole dives into the end zone for a touchdown as Montana's Alex Shaw tries to stop him during the second quarter of the Vols' 42-16 victory over the Grizzlies on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

Game recap: Tennessee 42, Montana 16

There was a little something for everyone Saturday night in Tennessee's 42-16 win over Montana at Neyland Stadium.

The meteorologists got a nasty storm that delayed the opening kickoff of the 2011 football season by 93 minutes.

The fans in the generously announced crowd of 94,661 were rewarded for getting soaked with some early big plays that erased any doubts about the eventual outcome.

And the Vols, despite the comfortable victory margin, showed enough frailties to give coach Derek Dooley and his staff plenty of corrective issues to address this week.

Tyler Bray threw three touchdown passes in the first half, freshman Marlin Lane scored two touchdowns and sophomores Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter each had big nights on the receiving ends of Bray passes.

Tauren Poole had a touchdown run and senior cornerback Art Evans chipped in a timely 37-yard interception return for a score.

Bray finished 17 of 24 passing for 293 yards.

Rogers and Hunter each topped the 100-yard receiving mark.

There was, however, no compelling evidence to suggest the running game was significantly improved from last year's dismal result.

Through three quarters, the Vols checked in with 79 rushing yards on 35 attempts. They finished at 129 yards on 45 rushes.

Poole rushed 24 times for 98 yards.

When a Montana punt backed UT up to its 1 in the third quarter, Poole was tackled in end zone for a safety.

The Vols drove to the Montana goal line in the closing minutes only to be stopped cold on fourth-and-goal at the 1.

The Vols were fortunate in the turnover department.

Two Bray passes were intercepted only to have the plays nullified by pass-interference penalties on Montana.

The Vols fumbled five times in the first half but recovered four and the fifth skittered out of bounds.

Tennessee used a combination of quick strikes and sustained drives to roll up a 28-7 halftime lead.

The Vols scored a pair of touchdowns in each quarter to go up 28-0 before the Grizzlies struck with a big play of their own to get the goose egg off the scoreboard.

Anthony Anderson got the first fumble recovery and it gave the Vols a mulligan to get the offense jump-started.

After a three-and-out series to open the game, Matt Darr punted. Montana fumbled the return, Anderson snatched it and the offense had new life at the Grizzlies' 47.

On the first snap, Bray handed off to Poole, took a pitch back from Poole and found Da'Rick Rogers open for the touchdown.

The next score was an 81-yard catch-and-run to Hunter.

The third score came on a 12-play, 96-yard drive that included tackle Dallas Thomas recovering a Poole fumble and a pass-interference flag on Montana that nullified and end-zone interception.

The grateful Vols converted on Bray's 9-yard pass to freshman tailback Lane for a 21-0 lead.

Tennessee then went long again — a 13-play drive for 76 yards. Along the way, Poole recovered a Bray fumble and freshman Vincent Dallas recovered a Zach Rogers fumble.

Dallas' heads-up play gave UT a first-and-goal at the Montana 8 and Poole plowed in from there for a 28-0 lead with 4:06 left in the half.

Montana, at last, had an answer: get receiver Jabin Sambrano matched up deep with freshman cornerback Justin Coleman.

Sambrano beat Coleman for the catch, evaded the tackle and ran away to complete an 80-yard touchdown.

That's where it ended at the half. Tennessee had 302 yards of offense to Montana's 140.

Bray was 10-of-13 for 235 yards and three TDs in the half.

The third quarter saw both teams spinning their offensive wheels. Only the defenses scored.

Montana dropped a punt dead at the UT 1, then stuffed Poole in the end zone for a safety to make it 35-9.

Tennessee then free-kicked the ball to Montana but the Grizzlies squandered any hope of momentum — throwing an interception that Art Evans returned 37 yards for a touchdown.

That left it 35-9 going into the fourth quarter.

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Comments » 100

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

Wasn't perfect by any means..Offense and defense had some good and bad moments..Good to play a team like Montana so the coaches can get the kinks worked out..By no means is it a sign that will go 6-6 again or whatever.

Smokey says good win, now let's prepare for the Bearcats..
...

utdanman writes:

Great Game but I'm very concerned about the running game. Should have been able to dominate Montana's line of scrimmage. Let's get the scheme right for Cinci. Go Vols!

Prostar writes:

Working the kinks out and getting hit by someone other than your teammate. A win is a win, now get to work and hold on to the ball. Still need a ball-control running game. Their defensive line was under-sized against our OL, we sure need to improve there.

Millisa writes:

Glad we won there is room for improvement for sure.

eduardo writes:

At least we got a win and not a loss like the puppies in Athens and should have been down on the Plains. How in the heck do you blow a 10 pt lead in the last 3 min of a game you have totally controlled???

Pullingguard writes:

Will be very interesting to see if this staff can make the necessary ajustments to improve the noticeably weak parts of this team; like running game for starters...

shorttail writes:

the only thing poole improved on was running his mouth. the o-line looks the same

bobbettac writes:

I want to see a running back explode into the line, instead of stutter stepping and picking up 1/2 a yard... Hope Neal gets healthy soon to heat up the competition for Poole.

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

Pitiful Montana Team...Watching Ark., LSU, Fla and Bama...our two lines can't play with any of them....Just the facts...Might beat Ga.

DennisVols writes:

Typical 1st game. Montana is not a bad team and will more than likely win all or most of their remaining games.
UT has room to grow and this was a good game to get the season started. Lots of freshmen and sophomore mistakes that were prevented by the ball bouncing UT’s way.
Lots of promise though. You could tell Bray, Hunter & D’ Rogers have spent a lot of time together this summer. Need to make a significant improvement in the game next week including doing a much better job of getting push off the line for Poole to run.
Tied for 1st in the SEC East after one week is better than tied for last.
Keeping it Real
GoVols!!!

BigVolFaninSC writes:

The pass protection was pretty good after that early blitz-bust, but the run blocking needs to step it up! I also thought that Poole seemed to be pressing! Lane looked more relaxed than Poole! Dooley has plenty to fuss about this week! I do see improvement in many areas, though! Keep making those deposits! GBO!

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to shorttail:

the only thing poole improved on was running his mouth. the o-line looks the same

Agreed. Nothing personal, but he laid the ball down 2 times and just seems to run right into the wall. I admit the O-line is terrible, but it is time to open up the rotation and give more carries to Lane and Neal.

All this yang about how this is the first game counts on things like execution. But, lining up and physically pushing a lower division team off the ball is something we should have seen tonight. They were all supposed to be bigger, stronger, and more experienced. We are going to have to start getting our ground yards with counters, pitches, and draws because we just can't push the line.

xvolx writes:

They played like frosh. and soph. They'll have to block and tackle better than this if they are going to compete in SEC. I was disappointed in the off. line run blocking and the def. line inability to get off blocks. A win is a win, but we don't want another 6-6 record and this team was a 6-6 team tonight.

OrangePsyched writes:

PPOrange/CSS I'm not ecstatic about this game but don't call Montana pitiful. They have 10 of 11 starters back on offense. They could beat a lot of D-1 teams...though not the elite. Cincy will tell me a lot. Either they're pretty good or Austin Peay is really bad. Next week will determine how confident I am going to the swamp.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Cincy put up 72 tonight. We better be ready.

Greatbasicswin writes:

We are a young talented team. I was at the game. We had our new basketball coach and new baseball coach and there staffs there to be introduced to the fans. Im not sure who does the annoucing at the game. I was absolutely embarrassed at the total lack of professionalism exhibited by that annoucer. Geez, your paid to call out peoples names. You would think that he would take the time to learn to pronouce them. Come on!!! He has been doing it along time I know but hey that was terrible.I'd let the guy go. I dont care how long he has done the job. He has absolutely risen to the level of incompentance. I dont care how good he says "It's football time in Tennessee" The man doesnt think enough of his job to study the names of our coaches so he can show due respect and pronouce the names right.

TNVOLFN writes:

in response to utdanman:

Great Game but I'm very concerned about the running game. Should have been able to dominate Montana's line of scrimmage. Let's get the scheme right for Cinci. Go Vols!

Its not the scheme. There are some serious issues with the offensive line. When our 6'4" 305 pounders can't lean on much smaller defensive linemen from the Big Sky Conference and manufacture drives at will, we will absolutely have our hands full with the NFL caliber defensive linemen we will face throughout the conference schedule. It may be a long year. Lets hope this was a fluke.

osbymartin75 writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Pitiful Montana Team...Watching Ark., LSU, Fla and Bama...our two lines can't play with any of them....Just the facts...Might beat Ga.

With the exception of LSU...the other 3 played horrible teams as well..kent state, fau and mo st...you stated that montana was pitiful...they had basically the same team that went 7-4 last season..while kent st, fau, and mo st were a combined 14-21 last season..so boasting about those teams winning over horrible teams and saying that UT cant hang with them because of this week is not facts it just shows how little you know about football..

TNVOLFN writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

Agreed. Nothing personal, but he laid the ball down 2 times and just seems to run right into the wall. I admit the O-line is terrible, but it is time to open up the rotation and give more carries to Lane and Neal.

All this yang about how this is the first game counts on things like execution. But, lining up and physically pushing a lower division team off the ball is something we should have seen tonight. They were all supposed to be bigger, stronger, and more experienced. We are going to have to start getting our ground yards with counters, pitches, and draws because we just can't push the line.

Inability to move the line of scrimmage= bad year in the SEC... Counters, draws, and pitches are only compliments in this league.

azorange writes:

I'm happy we won but disappointed we weren't more in command of the offensive line. Some great moments and I cheered, but enthusiasm dampened by lack of a stroger running attack. The safety and inability to punch it in from the one left me shaking my head. The upside is this game provided some great coaching moments and I'm optimistic game two vs. Cincinnati will show improvement. Go Vols!

osbymartin75 writes:

Why is everyone talking down on Poole..98 yds on 24 carries..4.1 ypc....as i stated on a different thread..if he does that every game he will end up with almost 1200 yds..

BigVolFaninSC writes:

How quickly we forget!...Remember a couple of years ago when we ran up 70+ in the first game against W Kentucky? And then, EVERYONE thought we were back until UCLA came in and slapped some reality into us! Well, one week is NOT enough to guage how the entire season will go, win or loss! I know one thing for sure!...Cincy will NOT score 73 next week! GBO!

TNVOLFN writes:

in response to osbymartin75:

Why is everyone talking down on Poole..98 yds on 24 carries..4.1 ypc....as i stated on a different thread..if he does that every game he will end up with almost 1200 yds..

That is a relative stat against a 1-AA opponent. It shows how little you know about football. Guarded optimism is one thing, but he should have been much more productive. It is not a commentary on his ability, rather an illumination of our shortcomings on the offensive-line.

The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Cincy put up 72 tonight. We better be ready.

John Chavis' LSU defense almost totally shut down Oregon tonight.

I like Justin Wilcox, but I miss the chief. He won championships.

The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca writes:

in response to osbymartin75:

Why is everyone talking down on Poole..98 yds on 24 carries..4.1 ypc....as i stated on a different thread..if he does that every game he will end up with almost 1200 yds..

Tennessee fans will criticize the way coaches and players tie their shoelaces.

azorange writes:

Off topic. Is it just me or does anyone else think Georgia's uniforms are...well...not good? I have to say I do like the "Georgia" written across the back. It sends the right message. It's about the team and not the individual. Just my two cents.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to TNVOLFN:

Its not the scheme. There are some serious issues with the offensive line. When our 6'4" 305 pounders can't lean on much smaller defensive linemen from the Big Sky Conference and manufacture drives at will, we will absolutely have our hands full with the NFL caliber defensive linemen we will face throughout the conference schedule. It may be a long year. Lets hope this was a fluke.

Not so much a fluke as being out-schemed by their defense. They kept 8-9 in the box all night and kept flooding the running lanes with LB's and safeties. Had Dooley/Chaney wanted to throw 50 times, we could have scored 60. They were running into superior numbers, not superior players. I agree tonight's run-blocking performance by the O-line would not get it done against an upper level SEC team but a lot of that falls on our backs. Poole still runs into the line and is waaaay too slow hitting the holes and turning upfield. Neal needs to get healthy, and soon.

Overall, Montana is a better team by far than either Austin Peay or Kent State and probably as good as Utah State so it's a decent win. In the SEC, only Georgia, LSU, and Ole Miss played tougher first week opponents. BUT we had several breakdowns on offense, including 4 fumbles, a couple of bad drops, a safety, and some bad penalties. Defensively, a broken play, a personal foul, and numerous missed tackles need to get fixed in a hurry before the Bearcats come calling, not to mention the little tango in the Swamp in two weeks. Cincinnati will provide a much better barometer of where Dooley's second team is. It all goes back to the age-old SEC mantra for success: run and stop the run. We were pretty good stopping it until the subs hit the field but woefully inadequate running it ourselves. We'll see. I'm still cautiously optimistic at this point but that could all change next week. Go Vols!!!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

On pins and needles awaiting news on Month Couch (knee) and Ben Martin (ankle).

TNVOLFN writes:

in response to The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca:

Tennessee fans will criticize the way coaches and players tie their shoelaces.

Yup. Its because we have something here called expectations; a monster which 'Chief' and coach Fulmer helped create. Its not a bad thing.

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

in response to osbymartin75:

With the exception of LSU...the other 3 played horrible teams as well..kent state, fau and mo st...you stated that montana was pitiful...they had basically the same team that went 7-4 last season..while kent st, fau, and mo st were a combined 14-21 last season..so boasting about those teams winning over horrible teams and saying that UT cant hang with them because of this week is not facts it just shows how little you know about football..

Since I know so litte and you apparently know so much....You can certainly have UT straight up against all those teams I mentioned.

Kindly respond

TNVOLFN writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

Not so much a fluke as being out-schemed by their defense. They kept 8-9 in the box all night and kept flooding the running lanes with LB's and safeties. Had Dooley/Chaney wanted to throw 50 times, we could have scored 60. They were running into superior numbers, not superior players. I agree tonight's run-blocking performance by the O-line would not get it done against an upper level SEC team but a lot of that falls on our backs. Poole still runs into the line and is waaaay too slow hitting the holes and turning upfield. Neal needs to get healthy, and soon.

Overall, Montana is a better team by far than either Austin Peay or Kent State and probably as good as Utah State so it's a decent win. In the SEC, only Georgia, LSU, and Ole Miss played tougher first week opponents. BUT we had several breakdowns on offense, including 4 fumbles, a couple of bad drops, a safety, and some bad penalties. Defensively, a broken play, a personal foul, and numerous missed tackles need to get fixed in a hurry before the Bearcats come calling, not to mention the little tango in the Swamp in two weeks. Cincinnati will provide a much better barometer of where Dooley's second team is. It all goes back to the age-old SEC mantra for success: run and stop the run. We were pretty good stopping it until the subs hit the field but woefully inadequate running it ourselves. We'll see. I'm still cautiously optimistic at this point but that could all change next week. Go Vols!!!

I agree that we were often outnumbered at the point of attack, but the offensive line often got whipped on the snap, which was hilighted by the safety we gave them (that was a slanting Dl, not a safety or LB). So, if they can do that, what makes you think UF, UGA, LSU, USC, and UA won't be able to do the same.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to azorange:

Off topic. Is it just me or does anyone else think Georgia's uniforms are...well...not good? I have to say I do like the "Georgia" written across the back. It sends the right message. It's about the team and not the individual. Just my two cents.

Those uniforms are as UGLY as their mascot! The helmets stink, too! Hope no one in Knoxville gets any ideas like THAT for the VOLS!

osbymartin75 writes:

in response to TNVOLFN:

That is a relative stat against a 1-AA opponent. It shows how little you know about football. Guarded optimism is one thing, but he should have been much more productive. It is not a commentary on his ability, rather an illumination of our shortcomings on the offensive-line.

Fair enough..that is your opinion about how much I know about football and you are entitled to it..but you contradicted yourself in the post..saying he should have been more productive and in the same breath saying it was a commentary on his ability but the shortcomings of the oline. And there were expectations at UT long before Fulmer and Chavis..so that seems to show how much you know about UTs history.

TNVOLFN writes:

in response to osbymartin75:

Fair enough..that is your opinion about how much I know about football and you are entitled to it..but you contradicted yourself in the post..saying he should have been more productive and in the same breath saying it was a commentary on his ability but the shortcomings of the oline. And there were expectations at UT long before Fulmer and Chavis..so that seems to show how much you know about UTs history.

Wow. Your comprehension is not the best, is it? Chavis and Fulmer HELPED create the expectations (look for context clues, thank you). Perhaps you should rent "90's:Decade of Dominance," to brush up on your history and our expectations.

IF you know so much, perhaps you shouldn't smear other posters when you are clearly speaking from emotion (i.e. your earlier response). Anyway, if you know anything about RB production, then surely you know it hinges on the OL. Right?

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

Wasn't perfect by any means..Offense and defense had some good and bad moments..Good to play a team like Montana so the coaches can get the kinks worked out..By no means is it a sign that will go 6-6 again or whatever.

Smokey says good win, now let's prepare for the Bearcats..
...

Yeah, I really hope we've seen the last of fumbilitis.... offense got lucky too often

mcvol75 writes:

The game tonight show that UT is STILL a very young team, no matter how many games or snaps these guys played as freshmen. Did anyone out there really believe we would be world beaters the first game? I personally believe this is a great opportunity for the coaches to do their jobs and coach them up. There are plenty of areas to focus on. It's time for CDD and staff to earn their money and get them ready for Cincy. Looking forward to weekly improvement from this young, but talented team. Now, let's go kick some Bearcat (whatever that is) butt! GBO!!

OrangePsyched writes:

Bring on the Cincy Trolls...ready to see what they're made of and there perceptions of the coming matchup. Do you actually just talk smack or do you discuss the compexities of the game. We'll see. Will be a good week of back and forth. GBO!

osbymartin75 writes:

Back on topic..they got the first game out of the way and will watch the tape I am sure and work on some things this week and prepare for cincinnati..I believe the Oline will gel and I will take a 100 yd a game back any day against any team.

osbymartin75 writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Since I know so litte and you apparently know so much....You can certainly have UT straight up against all those teams I mentioned.

Kindly respond

Never said I knew so much..I also never said that UT could or would beat those teams just that if you think what happened this week means that UT isnt capable of hanging with those teams then you dont know much about football...

VolAlum03ISBACK (Inactive) writes:

I don't know why people are so surprised about how poorly Poole runs. He's never been a great runner. He doesn't have break away speed and can't find holes.

wazzya69vol writes:

in response to azorange:

Off topic. Is it just me or does anyone else think Georgia's uniforms are...well...not good? I have to say I do like the "Georgia" written across the back. It sends the right message. It's about the team and not the individual. Just my two cents.

I didn't like these new uniforms, especially the helmets. They look like what these bike-riders wear, little decorated helmets with stripes over them. These uniforms, especially the helmets, did not look like good ole' SEC football. When comparing to all SEC teams Ga had to be the worst! I was pulling for them for the SEC, same as for LSU, but the uniforms were so embarrassing--hope they burn um, for their sake. Richt is going to have his hands full this year, coming up SC!

mattnchatt writes:

Gave up a safety to Montana? Five fumbles? This game shouldn't have been as close as 42-16.

Do Work Vols!

VolsAllTheWay writes:

Here is what I saw. I saw a team up 21 to 0 early in the game totally dominating the passing attack. I saw Montana continue to pack 8 in the box to stop the run and we continued to run right in the middle of the line. I see a coaching staff that kept it vanilla on offense, to work the o-line against a defense totally prepared to stop what they were doing. The run game kept the clock running and shortened the game. If we had kept passing this could have easily been 72-10 just like Cincinnati. I think when we beat Western Ky so handily there was the thought in the locker room that "we're good." I wasn't too happy with the run blocking either, but we did run the same plays all second half right into the strength of the defense. We were never seriously challenged in the 2nd half so they just worked on what wasn't working.

VolAlum03ISBACK (Inactive) writes:

in response to mcvol75:

The game tonight show that UT is STILL a very young team, no matter how many games or snaps these guys played as freshmen. Did anyone out there really believe we would be world beaters the first game? I personally believe this is a great opportunity for the coaches to do their jobs and coach them up. There are plenty of areas to focus on. It's time for CDD and staff to earn their money and get them ready for Cincy. Looking forward to weekly improvement from this young, but talented team. Now, let's go kick some Bearcat (whatever that is) butt! GBO!!

"I personally believe this is a great opportunity for the coaches to do their jobs and coach them up."

This is the kind of inane drivel that drives me nuts being a Vol fan. If our coaches are looking for an "opportunity" to coach up our kids AFTER a krap performance in a game...then they aren't doing their jobs BEFORE the game. The coaching staff doesn't need an "opportunity" to coach up the players. All they need is an opportunity to look at their paycheck and remember why they have a job.

Also, let me say that I don't for a minute believe that our coaching staff has this kind of ridiculous mindset. I'm not criticizing them...just the comment.

OldNumber7 writes:

in response to osbymartin75:

Why is everyone talking down on Poole..98 yds on 24 carries..4.1 ypc....as i stated on a different thread..if he does that every game he will end up with almost 1200 yds..

Did you watch the game or just read the box score? Other than his one 28 yard scamper, he averaged 3 very inconsistent yards per carry..and they were right into traffic every time. I don't remember seeing him generate any push (or the line for that matter)...or bounce outside. There was running room outside every time....no adjustment. It wasn't very comforting line work or improvisation on Poole's part.

I will never forget watching Tennessee play Syracuse in the 1998 opener. The intensity of every player on that field told you "this is a team to be reckoned with." Tennessee was nowhere near it tonite...but LSU had "IT". They will be contenders.

vol98champ writes:

Typical first game problems for many teams. I watched a lot of games and saw a number of coaching goofs. Could only listen to this one, but coaching seemed to be in mid season form. I hope most teams we play put 8/9 in the box. We will win a lot of games if they do.

pappyq writes:

in response to The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca:

Tennessee fans will criticize the way coaches and players tie their shoelaces.

LOL...but, seriously, did you see that Dooley missed a belt loop...very uncoachlike!

fpcoach writes:

in response to The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca:

John Chavis' LSU defense almost totally shut down Oregon tonight.

I like Justin Wilcox, but I miss the chief. He won championships.

John Chavis has a D full of experienced future NFL players while CWJ has a D full of inexperienced young players. In 2007 the great "chief" gave up 45 to Cal, 59 to fla, and 41 to bammer. I don't miss him at all.

SevenT writes:

I suppose a win is a win....

txvolsfan writes:

in response to vol98champ:

Typical first game problems for many teams. I watched a lot of games and saw a number of coaching goofs. Could only listen to this one, but coaching seemed to be in mid season form. I hope most teams we play put 8/9 in the box. We will win a lot of games if they do.

Typical vanilla game plan for an overmatched team. O-Line needs to step up and I believe they will. Da'Rick and Justin are studs and I think Marlin Lane if healthy will be one heck of a running back. We are still young and you have to live with the mistakes but we are improving and I really like CDD's honesty.
Go Volst
TXVOLSFAN

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