The #25/21-ranked Tennessee Volunteers led from the first play to the last in a 42-7 victory over Indiana State on Saturday in the home opener at Neyland Stadium.
“Today was a good win,” head coach Butch Jones said. “I’m really proud of our players. They showed some mental toughness. With the short turnaround, I thought they did a very good job all week long of trying to prepare their bodies and their minds, so I’m really proud of them. I thought one of the keys to the game was third-down defense and being able to get off the field.”
Tennessee (2-0) wasted no time in taking the momentum when freshman Ty Chandler returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, and the Vols scored 28 unanswered points to start against the Sycamores (0-2).
Junior quarterback Quinten Dormady connected on 13 of 18 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore running back Carlin Fils-aime rushed for his first two touchdowns of the season.
Junior running back John Kelly put together another standout game on the ground and in the air, rushing 18 times for 80 yards and catching five passes for a career-best 60 receiving yards.
After taking a 7-0 lead off Chandler’s race to the end zone, Fils-aime pushed into the checkerboard on a four-yard carry for his first of two touchdowns to cap an 81-yard drive, and the Vols led, 14-0, after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Fils-aime broke away for a 30-yard touchdown run. With 53 seconds before halftime, Dormady connected with sophomore Brandon Johnson for a 19-yard touchdown as the Vols extended their lead to 28-0.
Indiana State found the end zone in the third quarter, but the Vols responded when Dormady found Marquez Callaway for a 37-yard touchdown, his third touchdown catch this season. Tennessee added another score in the fourth quarter; redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano recorded his first career touchdown on an 11-yard pass to redshirt senior Jeff George to give Tennessee a 42-7 final score.
With a crowd of 99,015, the Vols shut down Indiana State for much of the game on the defensive end, limiting the Sycamores to 0-for-11 on third-down conversions and 215 total yards. Senior Cortez McDowell led Tennessee with eight tackles, three of them solo. Freshman Deandre Johnson forced two fumbles and had three tackles.
Tennessee opens Southeastern Conference play next Saturday against Florida on the road. The game is set to kick off at 3:30 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast on CBS.