Scrap those scrimmage statistics.
Anybody questioning if Tyler Bray was setting the bar too high with his own personal expectations can toss those doubts aside, as well.
After some shaky performances in low-pressure situations against his Tennessee teammates, followed up by a public declaration last week that his goal was to complete at least 70 percent of his passes against Montana, Bray lived up to his reputation as a big-time performer when the lights go on. The sophomore turned in a remarkably efficient effort in a 42-16 rout of Montana on Saturday night at Neyland Stadium.
And as for that target number the Vols quarterback set, he was reminded of it the second he sat down for his news conference after carving up the Grizzlies.
"What was my completion percentage?" Bray asked, getting an answer that had a percentage point to spare — prompting a fist pump and a smile.
"That's good. I wasn't trying to get anybody off our back, we just needed to get out there and get a victory on the board, show people what we can do."
Bray had given more than just a glimpse last year when he entered the starting lineup as a freshman and promptly won his first four starts to help UT qualify for a bowl, but with great potential also comes some greater scrutiny.
The coaching staff has talked openly about Bray's need to develop into a leader in the huddle and the importance of devoting himself to studying both opposing defenses and the playbook, and the reviews have been positive lately. The results weren't necessarily showing up in the stats the program provided from its three scrimmages in training camp, but when it really counted, the sophomore picked up right where he left off a year ago.
Bray still took a couple deep shots, including the wide-open toss to Da'Rick Rogers off a flea flicker early in the first quarter to give the Vols their first touchdown of the season. It's those home-run balls down the field and his occasional willingness to take risks that might have made Bray's goal of completing 70 percent seem like a bit of a stretch, but against the Grizzlies he was largely in control and content to take what the defense gave him.
He hit running backs in the flat and let them create after the catch, like Marlin Lane did with his 9-yard touchdown catch. Bray took advantage of short routes on the outside to move the chains and was accurate on throws over the middle, putting a bullet on Justin Hunter that sprung him for an 81-yard score later in the opening quarter.
And it all added up to an efficient 17-of-24, 293-yard outing for Bray, giving him a tidy 71 percent completion percentage — and another win.
"I think it's (different in a) game," Hunter said. "You're going to play fast. You're more excited in a game, so you're just going to turn it on from there.
"(Bray) has a lot of confidence now, and he trusts me and Da'Rick more to give us the ball. I think his completion percentage is going to be real high."
It could have been even higher if not for a couple drops on catchable balls, but there also were a few throws Bray would have liked to have had back.
Twice he tried to fit balls into tight spaces for tight end Mychal Rivera that were picked off. Neither actually counted against the Vols thanks to pass interference calls against the Grizzlies, but they perhaps offered reminders that Bray still is not a finished product.
"Tyler did a good job, he did," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "He was poised out there. There are still some plays he could have done better. For the most part he managed the game very well. The two picks he threw, one it looked like it was going to be fine and they hit Rivera. One was kind of a gift, wasn't a good throw.
"But he's got pretty good numbers here."
They don't look like the ones Bray posted in training camp. But they matched up perfectly with what he was expecting of himself.