Jonathon Crompton threw 5 TD passes in a game.
No, that wasn’t a typo.
Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton really threw 5 TD’s in a single game. (A short pause for you to google this if you still can’t believe it.)
Crompton and the Vols steamrolled right over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 63-7 on Saturday, racking up 657 yards of total offense. Crompton had a career day with 233 yards passing to go along with his 5 TD’s. He showed maturity and, unlike last season, appears comfortable in Lane Kiffin’s pro-style offense.
However, the Volunteers’ running back corps refused to be shown up by their senior quarterback. As a team Tennessee rushed for 380 yards and 4 TD’s, averaging over 8 yards per carry. Senior running back Montario Hardesty had 160 yards on 18 carries, with a huge 43-yard TD run.
Tennessee’s offensive “Freshman Four” also played well, having a coming out party against Western Kentucky.
Running back Bryce Brown scored UT’s first TD of the season and finished with 104 yards on 11 carries. His fellow frosh back David Oku had 42 yards and 2 TD’s on 8 carries. Marsalis Teague was the leading receiver for the Vols. Teague caught 6 passes for 86 yards and a TD. Nu’Keese Richardson made an impact all around, catching passes, returning kicks, and even running the wildcat formation.
Lane Kiffin’s focus, however, is not on the blowout victory of last week.
The Vols are preparing for a rematch against UCLA after losing a heartbreaker in Pasadena last season. As a former USC coach, Kiffin is no stranger to the Bruins either. Thus, there are plenty of storylines heading into Saturday’s game in Knoxville.
Before we break down the matchup, here are the particulars:
UCLA Bruins at Tennessee Volunteers
- UCLA-Tennessee Date: Saturday, September 12th
- UCLA-Tennessee Location: Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee
- UCLA-Tennessee Kickoff Time: 4:00 ET
- UCLA-Tennessee TV: ESPN
- UCLA-Tennessee Point Spread: Tennessee -7.5
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The matchup between Tennessee and UCLA is completely different than last season. In ’08 the Vols were a team searching for an offensive identity and UCLA was lucky to scrape out a win.
This season the Vols appear rejuvenated on offense with their explosive young talent and offensive mastermind Lane Kiffin at the helm. And though the offense has improved vastly, the strength of this Vols team is still the defense, led by its all-world safety Eric Berry.
In Monte Kiffin’s first game as UT defensive coordinator, the Vols held Western Kentucky to 83 yards of total offense. The Hilltoppers only managed 34 yards rushing, averaging a laughable 1-yard per carry. The scary part of UT’s defensive performance is that Berry didn’t play all that well and the defense still held strong.
Berry and the Tennessee defense could have a field day against UCLA’s freshman quarterback Kevin Prince, who threw two picks against San Diego State in the Bruins opener. Prince doesn’t seem experienced enough to go up against a top-level SEC defense and will likely turn the ball over multiple times.
The Vols will have to be careful of their own turnovers however. Jonathan Crompton will have to keep an eye out for UCLA safety Rahim Moore, who had three interceptions last week against SDSU.
Lane Kiffin, though, appears to be more than capable of putting together an effective offensive game plan. And if Tennessee’s offense can produce even half as well as they did last week, the Neyland faithful should once again be singing Rocky Top at the top of their lungs.
And the Vols, coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in school history, should be 2-0.
My prediction for Saturday’s game: Tennessee- 31 UCLA- 17