Tennessee offense thrills but defense takes Orange and White game

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The White-clad offense put on a show in the Dish Orange and White Game on Saturday afternoon, but it was the Orange-shirted defense that took home the victory, 54-44 in front of 63,016 at Neyland Stadium.Down by a 44-40 score late in the third quarter, the Orange scored the final 14 points off the game thanks to a stalwart defense to the secure the win. The defense stopped the offense on all six series in the second half.

Junior quarterback Joshua Dobbs was 5-of-8 for 94 yards with a touchdown through the air. Freshman Quinten Dormadywas 5-of-11 for 96 yards while fellow mid-year addition ran for a team-best 58 yards keyed by a 45-yard scoring dash.

Jayson Sparks added 51 yards on 12 carries while Jalen Hurd had 40 yards on the ground including a long of 26 yards.Alvin Kamara ran for 19 yards on 10 totes including the first TD of the day.

Pig Howard led all receivers with three catches for 49 yards. Josh Malone had two receptions for 80 yards including a 65-yard bomb from Dormady. Ethan Wolf caught the other TD from Dobbs.

On defense, sophomore Evan Berry led the Orange with nine tackles. Classmate Todd Kelly Jr., had six stops and juniorJalen Reeves-Maybin notched five tackles including two sacks.

Overall, the Orange Swarm had 9.0 TFLs and five sacks with Andrew Butcher and Kendal Vickers each posting one.

The day kicked off with the Circle of Life drill, which matched offensive and defensive players for single points. A.J. Branisel,Chance Hall and Austin Sanders came away with wins for the offense, with Andrew Butcher and Charles Mosley picking up points for the defense. A point was awarded to the Orange for a defense-on-defense draw between Evan Berry and Todd Kelly Jr.

The first-team offense scored on each of its first three possessions, with big plays factoring prominently into each drive Dobbs hit Johnathon Johnson for 37 yards on the opening drive to put the White in business inside the 15. Back-to-back rushes by Dobbs set up a 2-yard touchdown run for Kamara.

Dobbs found Howard for a 31-yard gain on the second possession, but a sack by Reeves-Maybin for 10-yard loss on 3rd down seemed to put a stop to the scoring threat. But Aaron Medley stepped up and nailed a 55-yard field goal to make the first team two-for-two on scoring drives.

Hurd made his presence felt on his first carry of the afternoon to open the third possession for the first team with a 26-yard run up the near sideline. After a pass interference call moved the White 15 yards closer, Hurd broke a 13-yard run to set up a Dobbs-to-Ethan Wolf connection for a 15-yard TD.

After a pause for a wide receiver-defensive back drill in which the DBs won all seven match-ups, Dormady found his stride on his second possession as Volunteer QB, hitting Josh Malone in stride for a 65-yard, one-play drive that put the White team up 33-18.

The Orange was able to fight back right way. With the Dobbs and the first team offense back on the field, a trick play went awry, as Cam Sutton picked up a fumble on a double reverse and took it 20 yards to the house to bring the orange within 2, 33-31.

Jennings added to the offensive show with a 45-yard touchdown run on the final play of the opening half.

As part of the halftime activites, Dobbs came up with a clutch performance in the quarterback skills challenge, hitting a target on his final throw to defeat Dormady, 8-7.

Spring awards were announced at halftime. The Al Wilson Leadership Award for defense went to Sutton, while Dobbs earned the Inaugural Peyton Manning Leadership Award for offense. The Harvey Robinson Offensive Player Award was given to Jashon Robertson, the Andy Spiva Defensive Player Award to Rashaan Gaulden. Malik Foreman, Robertson andKendal Vickers were named winners of the John Stucky Award. Johnathon Johnson took home the 63 Award.

Despite the threat of rain and severe weather, which never materialized during the course of the game, Tennessee drew a crowd of 63,016, posting the third-largest attendance in UT spring game history.

In three years of spring games under Butch Jones, the Volunteers have averaged 64,213 and have had three of the four highest crowds in UT history.

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