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Tennessee vs. Indiana State: the good, the bad, the ugly

Photo: UTSports.com

Tennessee defeated Indiana State at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2017. The Vols earned a 42-7 win over the Sycamores to improve to 2-0 on the season.

The Good: Tennessee’s third down defense. The Vols limited Indiana State to 0 of 11 on third down tries, which was a vast improvement from five days earlier, when Georgia Tech converted 10 of its first 13 third down tries against UT’s defense. The trash can was not present on Tennessee’s sideline. A total of 99,015 fans showed up for the game — a nice crowd for an FCS opponent, even if it was the season-opener. Tennessee’s special teams play. The Vols’ Ty Chandler returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, six of Tennessee’s seven kickoffs resulted in touchbacks, Marquez Callaway looks like a break-away threat as a punt returner, and Trevor Daniels averaged over 47 yards per punt, with a long of 59.

The Bad: Tennessee’s inability to set the edge on defense. Indiana State was able to get to the corner too many times. The Vols only recorded one sack (after having none against Georgia Tech last week), lost time of possession, and gave up nearly as many yards to Indiana State as Eastern Illinois gave up last week. The third down pump-up music. Can we just bring back Third Down For What? The bathroom and water failure on the west side of Neyland Stadium. No ladies’ restrooms! No fountain drinks! Horrors!

The Ugly: Tennessee’s offensive line play. The Vols gave up seven stops behind the line of scrimmage. That’s way too many against an FCS opponent like Indiana State. John Kelly and the rest of UT’s runningbacks had little room to run, and averaged only 4.3 yards per carry — again, that’s not enough against a team like Indiana State. Quarterbacks Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano were pressured way too early and way too often on pass attempts. If Indiana State’s front seven can do that to Tennessee, what in the world is Florida going to do to the Vols’ offensive line?

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