Tennessee put up 31 points in the second quarter, capped by an 88-yard kickoff return by Evan Berry, and ran away with a 55-10 victory over Western Carolina on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Joshua Dobbs completed 15 of 21 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He connected on 12 of his first 13 passes. Jalen Hurd rushed 11 times for 68 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 12 yards and a score.
Tennessee (2-1) finished with 447 yards of total offense and 169 special teams yards before a home crowd of 102,136. The UT defense held Western Carolina (1-2) to 279 offensive yards.
Tonight’s win marked first time UT had recorded a kickoff return TD and a punt return TD in the same game since Oct. 28, 1950, against Washington & Lee.
UT has scored 138 points over its first three games, marking its most through three games since scoring 171 to start the 1914 season.
The Vols set the tone early when Cameron Sutton forced a fumble by Karnorris Benson andDerek Barnett recovered. On the ensuing UT drive, Dobbs hit Williams for a 25-yard touchdown strike to the left corner of the end zone for the freshman wideout’s first career score.
On Tennessee’s second dive, Aaron Medleymade a 20-yard field goal to give UT a 10-0 advantage.
UT’s 31 points in the second quarter were its most since scoring 35 points in the first quarter against Arkansas on Nov. 11, 2000.
The Vols’ second-quarter scoring spree began when Dobbs found Hurd for a five-yard touchdown with Hurd diving for the pylon.
Medley connected on a 31-yard field goal with 5:12 left in the half. Hurd ran in an eight yard score and Alvin Kamara punched in a two-yard touchdown run in Tennessee’s next two possessions to build the lead to 34-0.
Western Carolina put together one of its best drives of the night covering 51 yards over five plays to set up Logan Howard for a 32-yard field goal and the Catamounts’ only points of the half.
On the ensuing kickoff, Berry spun his way out of a pile at midfield to sprint down the right sideline for the 88-yard score. It was Tennessee’s first kickoff returned for a touchdown sinceCordarrelle Patterson took a kick 98 yards for a score against Troy on Nov. 3, 2012.
The Vols took a 41-3 lead into halftime, marking their largest lead at the break since a 42-0 halftime advantage over Austin Peay in the 2013 season opener. UT had 285 total offensive yards in the first half to WCU’s 118.
The Tennessee offense scored 14 more points in the third quarter. Four minutes into the half, Kamara returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown, making him the second Vol ever to post a rushing touchdown and a punt return touchdown in the same game. The other Vol was Stanley Morgan in 1975 against Maryland.
Quinten Dormady found Williams for a 24-yard touchdown with 7:45 left in the third quarter to push UT’s lead to 55-3. The score was the first touchdown pass of Dormady’s collegiate career.
The Catamounts scored their lone touchdown of the night on Detrez Newsome’s 64-yard touchdown run with 10:59 left in the fourth quarter.
Tennessee opens SEC play on Sept. 26 when it plays Florida in Gainesville. That game will feature a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS. The Vols return to Neyland Stadium on Oct. 3 to host Arkansas.