Rocky Top rout: Vols race past Cincinnati, 45-23

Bray accounts for 5 TDs, career-high 405 passing yards

Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole (28) moves the ball down field on a pass from quarterback Tyler Bray (8) during the game against Cincinnati at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2011

Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole (28) moves the ball down field on a pass from quarterback Tyler Bray (8) during the game against Cincinnati at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee-Cincinnati Game in Review

One small step for re-establishing a program. One important leap for maximizing the 2011 season.

There was a time when a 45-23 Tennessee win over Cincinnati would be viewed as business-as-usual.

These still aren't usual times, but a near-perfect Saturday afternoon for football at Neyland Stadium ended with a familiar feeling.

While no one was tearing down the goal posts, a crowd of 94,207 witnessed plenty to celebrate.

The obvious was sophomore Tyler Bray passing for 405 yards, a career high. And his classmates and routemates, Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers, making history as the first pair of Tennessee receivers to log 100-yard games on the same day.

But the big picture should not be overlooked. The Vols are 2-0 for the first time since 2006.

Furthermore, they shed a five-game losing streak against nonconference BCS opponents that dated to an Outback Bowl win over Wisconsin after the 2007 season.

UT was a mere 4- to 5-point favorite over the Bearcats (1-1) and Cincinnati was a trendy upset pick in the national media. All of which is a comment on the state of Tennessee's program after a turbulent three years.

The outcome Saturday, however, was never in doubt once UT's defense shook off a slow start and prevented the go-go Bearcats from matching the Vols score for score.

"We took a step forward,'' said senior tailback Tauren Poole. "Now it's time for big-boy football against Florida.''

The Vols did not want to go to The Swamp next week coming off a home loss. They won't.

Cincinnati was a team they had to beat to keep on pace to be bowl eligible. They did.

The first quarter, however, was anybody's game. Both teams scored touchdowns on their first two possessions.

"They had us on our heels,'' said coach UT Derek Dooley.

Isaiah Pead's 65-yard touchdown on the game's opening possession left the Vols on their fannies. A 13-yard TD pass from Zach Collaros to Adrien Robinson knotted the score at 14-14 to end the first quarter.

But Cincinnati didn't score another touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter, by which time the Vols had piled up an insurmountable 42-17 lead.

The UT defense recorded five consecutive stops to close out the first half — two punts, a missed field goal and, most impressively, two stops on fourth-and-1.

"I give it to our defense,'' said Rogers. "Two fourth-and-1 stops. You can't ask for any more than that.''

Rogers did his part, too.

He had 10 catches for 100 yards, including two touchdowns.

Hunter's 10 catches produced 156 yards and a score.

"Nothing surprises me any more from those two guys,'' said Bray, who was 34-of-41 passing and avoided interceptions.

It was freshman Marlin Lane who scored first, a 2-yard run to answer Cincinnati's opening drive.

Then Dooley fueled the newfound momentum by ordering an onside kick, which Michael Palardy successfully executed.

Five plays later, Hunter broke open and Bray delivered a perfect throw for a 33-yard touchdown.

In the second quarter, an 11-yard TD pass to Rogers put Tennessee ahead for good, 21-14.

Late in the half, Rogers came up with another touchdown catch from 15 yards. He was sandwiched by two Cincinnati defenders and lost his helmet but came up holding the football.

"I hope they keep doing what they're doing,'' said Dooley of his prodigious sophomores, "but the tests are going to keep getting harder.''

Tennessee opened the third quarter in good form with a 10-play drive. Bray capped it with a 1-yard dive, his first career rushing score.

The defense bent — over backward — giving Cincinnati first-and-goal at the 1, but dug in to force a 23-yard Tony Miliano field goal.

The Vols had the perfect answer, a 71-yard drive. For variety's sake, Bray picked out Austin Rogers for a 16-yard TD strike and a 42-17 lead.

Cincinnati's last score, a 6-yard Collaros pass to Anthony McClung, came courtesy of Rajion Neal's fumble at the UT 22.

The Vols won the yardage battle 531 to 396. Poole carved out 101 rushing yards and tight end Mychal Rivera had six catches for 54 yards.

"They're going to gain some yards,'' Dooley said of Cincinnati, "but it helps when they're not stopping you.

"So it was just as important we kept scoring.''

Now, it's important that the Vols keep making progress on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

"We're 2-0,'' Dooley said, "looking good. Everything's good.

"But next week we're playing one of the best defenses in the country. Before we say we're good, let's play some of these SEC defenses.''

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Comments » 248

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

I'm not yelling at you guys,I'm just excited:

TYLER-BRAY-IS-THE-MAN!!!

Smokey says 'nuff said....

Volfan8404 writes:

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!! Great game tonight!

nwcs writes:

This is what I call progress. We might be back in the bcs hunt in 2 years.

Tru138 writes:

CSS and all of his past, current and future alter egos are idiots.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Tru138:

CSS and all of his past, current and future alter egos are idiots.

+1

tn_rockytop writes:

it kills me i bet i herd 20 times tennesee is not good at running the ball in the first half by the play by play guys . I dont get it dont they now we are a pass team and you can pass to open up the run game as well...its time for are respect...bow
.....

BigVolinCarolina writes:

3 Points from the Game (didn't see every play but did see most)

1. Great job, Vols. Way to hang in there and make it happen. Nice onside kick in 1st Q.
2. Wish our Defense played every down with the same intensity as it did on both 4th-and-short's that we stopped. Those 2 stops were HUGE and the reason we won.
3. O-Line's gotta get more aggressive. If not, we're toast. We won't rush for more than 1,000 yards TOTAL this season if they don't step up.

Not being critical. Just stating the obvious. Like the way the pieces are slowly coming together.

writer#358485 writes:

If we hadn't fumbled, my 45-17 prediction would have been good. Great win, there will be quite a few more this year, we beat a pretty good team. The defense needs to step up against the SEC, but I suspect they will. Go Vols, you made this old, old fan proud!

Prostar writes:

We've still got a lot of work to do. Our tackling was horrible early on and we couldn't stop their run. We're not running the ball consistently, thankfully Bray could pick apart their defense with our passing game. Overall a good game, I give them a B plus. We've still got issues but they are correctable.

VolAlum03ISBACK (Inactive) writes:

Does anyone know what our 3rd down conversion rate is through two games? It's got to be better than last year at this same time...of course...we also didn't play Oregon.

Our secondary needs to run laps, they seem to be good for at least one missed pass for touchdown per game.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

Passing game = great! Running game = needs work still, but improving! Defense = made good adjustments after early TDs! Nice victory! Herbie from ESPN, "What were you THINKIN'!" Let's take another step up and give the lizards and CBS something more than what was anticipated preseason! GBO!

HtownVol writes:

Note...
TACKLE better and we need a pass rush.

We can NOT leave UF all day to find a open WR.

Also,. Justin Hunter may well be the best WR in the country. The tape dont lie.

GO VOLS!

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

94,000?? seriously? thats very inaccurate. Maybe 94,000 tennessee fans

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That was Peay's girls team......Now what goes around comes around....It starts next week in Florida....

movol77 writes:

Good win.
Good step forward.
Come to practice Monday with focus on FL.

UTbassdrummer writes:

There'll be time for constructive criticism this week.

For now....SAVOR. Things are working.

Big week coming. We can do this.

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

Okay, before we begin all the mindless chest thumping about whipping little Cincy (as should be expected); What did we really learn?

Bray, Hunter, and Rogers can play pitch and catch against a mid-major (as should be expected)...We can't run or stop the run against SEC competition...Dooley and Wilcox can't coach a lick of defense....Dooley is still a bonehead. Deferring on the kickoff with a suspect defense is the dumbest call yet (you'll never see Spurrier or Florida do that)

We beat the Big East cellar-dweller....Nothing today will help during the SEC grind

Not likely to be pretty in the Swamp next week.

tn_rockytop writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

Passing game = great! Running game = needs work still, but improving! Defense = made good adjustments after early TDs! Nice victory! Herbie from ESPN, "What were you THINKIN'!" Let's take another step up and give the lizards and CBS something more than what was anticipated preseason! GBO!

couldn't have said it better myself.

Upgrayedd writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Okay, before we begin all the mindless chest thumping about whipping little Cincy (as should be expected); What did we really learn?

Bray, Hunter, and Rogers can play pitch and catch against a mid-major (as should be expected)...We can't run or stop the run against SEC competition...Dooley and Wilcox can't coach a lick of defense....Dooley is still a bonehead. Deferring on the kickoff with a suspect defense is the dumbest call yet (you'll never see Spurrier or Florida do that)

We beat the Big East cellar-dweller....Nothing today will help during the SEC grind

Not likely to be pretty in the Swamp next week.

I learned that you still suck.

VolGrad writes:

Excuses we'll hear after next weekend:

From the interview with Floriduh coach Muschump regarding the unstoppable aerial attack of Tennessee, "They were who we thought they were. They were who we thought they were!"

Tennessee 42
Florida 24

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Okay, before we begin all the mindless chest thumping about whipping little Cincy (as should be expected); What did we really learn?

Bray, Hunter, and Rogers can play pitch and catch against a mid-major (as should be expected)...We can't run or stop the run against SEC competition...Dooley and Wilcox can't coach a lick of defense....Dooley is still a bonehead. Deferring on the kickoff with a suspect defense is the dumbest call yet (you'll never see Spurrier or Florida do that)

We beat the Big East cellar-dweller....Nothing today will help during the SEC grind

Not likely to be pretty in the Swamp next week.

What's this "we" cr@p??

Smokey says he was expecting you to make some dumb comments..

jack_2222#231746 writes:

It is obvious UT's young offensive line has focused on pass protection. It's what you do when you have a dropback passer. They probably won't be adept at run blocking til next year.

You really want them to practice more run blocking at the expense of their pass blocking effectiveness?

chaos001 writes:

in response to VolAlum03ISBACK:

Does anyone know what our 3rd down conversion rate is through two games? It's got to be better than last year at this same time...of course...we also didn't play Oregon.

Our secondary needs to run laps, they seem to be good for at least one missed pass for touchdown per game.

3rd down efficiency: 10-13 = 77%

VolGrad writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Okay, before we begin all the mindless chest thumping about whipping little Cincy (as should be expected); What did we really learn?

Bray, Hunter, and Rogers can play pitch and catch against a mid-major (as should be expected)...We can't run or stop the run against SEC competition...Dooley and Wilcox can't coach a lick of defense....Dooley is still a bonehead. Deferring on the kickoff with a suspect defense is the dumbest call yet (you'll never see Spurrier or Florida do that)

We beat the Big East cellar-dweller....Nothing today will help during the SEC grind

Not likely to be pretty in the Swamp next week.

Works both ways, bonehead.

You will be hard pressed to defend yourself next weekend.

Go Vols!

pingkr62 writes:

MUCH MUCH better showing this week. I'm really excited about Marlin Lane. If he can stay healthy, he is a star in the making. This was the best showing so far, Lets see how much improvement can take place this week. I have a good feeling about the Florida game. G.B.O.!!!

Colliervol writes:

Like I told the troll the other day, all we are looking for is continuous improvement. And although the Cincy defense bears no resemblance to an SEC defense, UT took a nice step forward today. I thought that game would be much closer. Random thoughts:

1) We have a LOT to look forward to with Bray, Hunter and Rogers together for the next THREE years. Can't double team anybody. They are going to keep some defensive coordinators up at night. Believe that. I also liked the offensive play calling. Still got work to do on the running game but the line did get better as the game went along.

2) Although shaky at the start, the defense got more disciplined as the game went along and that was a positive. They are still way too small and inexperienced (four freshmen starting) but I believe they can hold their own enough to where we can be in any game with the offense we have.

3) The thing I really like is that the team is much more disciplined in terms of fewer penalties. Didn't see those stupid false start and holding penalties that we saw the last 4 or 5 years and only one personal foul when Malik got his hands to the helmet of the QB.

Now let's see what we can do on the road against an SEC team. But this I believe and listen up trolls. The days of the free lunch against UT are coming to an end. This team will have its ups and downs but I'm starting to see brighter days ahead.

Tau_of_Tennessee writes:

I am especially impressed by the receivers pass catching ability. Some tough catches out there. Fundementals look good.

billy.stanley#1401770 writes:

Remember Wide Receiver U??? It's back!!!

tn_rockytop writes:

its going to get to were teams are going to have to stop the pass .to two main targets that the run game will be there, dont worry about it.besides bray is a real good qb. last year when we started we couldnt get 100 yds passing a game.Dooley is getting it done and we are for real.

Colliervol writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Okay, before we begin all the mindless chest thumping about whipping little Cincy (as should be expected); What did we really learn?

Bray, Hunter, and Rogers can play pitch and catch against a mid-major (as should be expected)...We can't run or stop the run against SEC competition...Dooley and Wilcox can't coach a lick of defense....Dooley is still a bonehead. Deferring on the kickoff with a suspect defense is the dumbest call yet (you'll never see Spurrier or Florida do that)

We beat the Big East cellar-dweller....Nothing today will help during the SEC grind

Not likely to be pretty in the Swamp next week.

Why are you using the term "we"?

tdvol1989 writes:

Forget the negatives today. No, we did not dominate in the run game. And, we had a handfull of dingdong plays. But, just enough negatives to allow Dooley to poormouth (penalties, Vereen's missed tackle, Neal's fumble, Lane's fumble, Coleman toasted again, and Poole running into the back of the line).

Bottom line, this was a very well executed game, the best of the Dooley era. The defense caught on and took the heat off. The offense was very effective. The 3rd Down Coversion Rate had to be 75%+. Hunter and Rogers just stepped into Harper/Pickens territory. There were no big drops.

This was a well-played game for the Vols regardless of the score. I would expect the Coaches and Media to try to get the Vols into the Top 25 for game hype next week. I think we just might be deserving.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say everyone ignore "Precious" hes just needs attention to feed his little mans disease. lol
Go Vols!
Bones never lie.

tn_rockytop writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Okay, before we begin all the mindless chest thumping about whipping little Cincy (as should be expected); What did we really learn?

Bray, Hunter, and Rogers can play pitch and catch against a mid-major (as should be expected)...We can't run or stop the run against SEC competition...Dooley and Wilcox can't coach a lick of defense....Dooley is still a bonehead. Deferring on the kickoff with a suspect defense is the dumbest call yet (you'll never see Spurrier or Florida do that)

We beat the Big East cellar-dweller....Nothing today will help during the SEC grind

Not likely to be pretty in the Swamp next week.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Drew2010 writes:

I'm very impressed how Hunter & D.Rogers have stepped up to be the go to receivers. Hopefully they'll keep it up during SEC play!

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

With Dooley and Wilcox defense, Richt and Spurrier don't have anything to worry about...Go watch Crowelle and Lattimore...They're both likely to rush for 200+ against the Dooley/Wilcox sieve.

Vol43 writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thank you.

FWBVol writes:

Just a few mistakes in the story. First, the score was 14-7 in favor of the Vols after UT's second TD, not 14-14. And we lost two fumbles--the one by Lane and one by Neal.

That said, Tyler Bray is starting to put up Peyton Manning type numbers. But he still has a long way to go before he is Peyton Manning.

A lot of fans were so worried about his performance in the spring game or his completion percentage in the preseason, but it's obvious those scrimmage numbers mean nothing.

It was good to see Bray get the ball to receivers other than Hunter and Da'Rick. The more weapons we have at receiver the more it opens things up for not only the passing game, but the running game as well.

This team is growing up and I think we are all starting to get a glimpse of what the offense will look like once the players get some experience and maturity.

VolGrad writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

With Dooley and Wilcox defense, Richt and Spurrier don't have anything to worry about...Go watch Crowelle and Lattimore...They're both likely to rush for 200+ against the Dooley/Wilcox sieve.

With the way your predictions have gone lately, those words make me feel pretty good.

Thanks much. Enjoy the crow. There's more to come next weekend. Stay tuned.

Go Vols!

HallowedHill writes:

Good win today!

GO VOLS!

jobrando#216494 writes:

Shoes for coach D's orange pants
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I...

VolAlum03ISBACK (Inactive) writes:

in response to Colliervol:

Like I told the troll the other day, all we are looking for is continuous improvement. And although the Cincy defense bears no resemblance to an SEC defense, UT took a nice step forward today. I thought that game would be much closer. Random thoughts:

1) We have a LOT to look forward to with Bray, Hunter and Rogers together for the next THREE years. Can't double team anybody. They are going to keep some defensive coordinators up at night. Believe that. I also liked the offensive play calling. Still got work to do on the running game but the line did get better as the game went along.

2) Although shaky at the start, the defense got more disciplined as the game went along and that was a positive. They are still way too small and inexperienced (four freshmen starting) but I believe they can hold their own enough to where we can be in any game with the offense we have.

3) The thing I really like is that the team is much more disciplined in terms of fewer penalties. Didn't see those stupid false start and holding penalties that we saw the last 4 or 5 years and only one personal foul when Malik got his hands to the helmet of the QB.

Now let's see what we can do on the road against an SEC team. But this I believe and listen up trolls. The days of the free lunch against UT are coming to an end. This team will have its ups and downs but I'm starting to see brighter days ahead.

I'm with you on points 1, 2, & 3, but we've only beaten a rebuilding Cincinnati program and an FCS school. Let's not blow sunshine up our butts too soon.

If we beat UF at the swamp, then I will get the sunshine for everyone, including myself.

BEAT FLORIDA! BEAT THOSE NASTY GATORS LIKE A RENTED MULE!!!

Vol43 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Just a few mistakes in the story. First, the score was 14-7 in favor of the Vols after UT's second TD, not 14-14. And we lost two fumbles--the one by Lane and one by Neal.

That said, Tyler Bray is starting to put up Peyton Manning type numbers. But he still has a long way to go before he is Peyton Manning.

A lot of fans were so worried about his performance in the spring game or his completion percentage in the preseason, but it's obvious those scrimmage numbers mean nothing.

It was good to see Bray get the ball to receivers other than Hunter and Da'Rick. The more weapons we have at receiver the more it opens things up for not only the passing game, but the running game as well.

This team is growing up and I think we are all starting to get a glimpse of what the offense will look like once the players get some experience and maturity.

Well said. The team never lost its poise. I am so proud of this team and coaching staff. We're taking it to the gators next week. We're taking it!

BillsBrother writes:

in response to TheBlue:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yes

Vol43 writes:

in response to VolAlum03ISBACK:

I'm with you on points 1, 2, & 3, but we've only beaten a rebuilding Cincinnati program and an FCS school. Let's not blow sunshine up our butts too soon.

If we beat UF at the swamp, then I will get the sunshine for everyone, including myself.

BEAT FLORIDA! BEAT THOSE NASTY GATORS LIKE A RENTED MULE!!!

If I were in a foxhole given a selection of 3 other men to defend this nation, you would not be one of them.

azorange writes:

Loved the game. Fun to watch. Exciting actually. Loved the onside.

Was it me or was the secondary a little soft? Seemed Cincinnati's receivers caught a lot of balls for big yards. Gator receivers could have a big day...we'll see.

Any win's a great win. Hey, does this victory give Dooley a winning record at TN? Go Vols!

VolAlum03ISBACK (Inactive) writes:

South Carolina just dropped UGA. If you're a georgia hs football player and you're thinking of going with UGA over UT...you're insane. Enjoy whoever is going to be your new coach, cuz it ain't gonna be Mark Richt.

VolAlum03ISBACK (Inactive) writes:

in response to Vol43:

If I were in a foxhole given a selection of 3 other men to defend this nation, you would not be one of them.

I guess I'll have to get my own foxhole...unless yours is the last one. In which case, I'm fine with that.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

94,000?? seriously? thats very inaccurate. Maybe 94,000 tennessee fans

TV broadcast team said attendance 102,000...dont know...i couldnt make it...

Ironcity writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Okay, before we begin all the mindless chest thumping about whipping little Cincy (as should be expected); What did we really learn?

Bray, Hunter, and Rogers can play pitch and catch against a mid-major (as should be expected)...We can't run or stop the run against SEC competition...Dooley and Wilcox can't coach a lick of defense....Dooley is still a bonehead. Deferring on the kickoff with a suspect defense is the dumbest call yet (you'll never see Spurrier or Florida do that)

We beat the Big East cellar-dweller....Nothing today will help during the SEC grind

Not likely to be pretty in the Swamp next week.

Man are you bitter!! You must be really worried to still be posting. By the way that great win against Florida in the Ocean, well they were down something like 35 to nothing at half to a big thin team. I get the feeling the Gators may not be very good.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Okay, before we begin all the mindless chest thumping about whipping little Cincy (as should be expected); What did we really learn?

Bray, Hunter, and Rogers can play pitch and catch against a mid-major (as should be expected)...We can't run or stop the run against SEC competition...Dooley and Wilcox can't coach a lick of defense....Dooley is still a bonehead. Deferring on the kickoff with a suspect defense is the dumbest call yet (you'll never see Spurrier or Florida do that)

We beat the Big East cellar-dweller....Nothing today will help during the SEC grind

Not likely to be pretty in the Swamp next week.

Meant to incorporate this into my other response to you: Cincy may be a "Big-East cellar-dweller", but they are still considered a BCS team..And another thing, why don't you go tell CDD and CJW to their face that they suck and can't coach a lick..You wouldn't do it because you are a coward hiding behind a keyboard, as Navalorange says...

Smokey says take that and stick it in your ear...

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