KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee piled up 523 total yards as the Vols claimed their fifth-straight win with a 53-28 Senior Day victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Joshua Dobbs accounted for 233 yards of offense and three touchdowns in the Vols’ regular-season finale at Neyland Stadium. Jalen Hurd rushed for more than 100 yards for the fifth time this year, finishing with 120 yards.
“I’m just really proud of our players, particularly our seniors,” Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said. “We talked about finishing. Everything in our program is based off of finishing, and we’re learning how to finish.”
The win gave Tennessee (8-4, 5-3 SEC) its first eight-win season since going 10-4 in 2007. UT is also on a five-game winning streak, which is Tennessee’s best since also winning the final five regular-season games in 2007.
Vanderbilt (4-8, 2-6) gave up its most points of the season after entering the game allowing just 18.1 points per game. It is the most points the Vols have scored in an SEC game since a 59-21 win over Mississippi State in 2003.
Eighteen seniors went through the “T” one final time at Neyland Stadium and Tennessee honored them with a pregame ceremony.
Dobbs finished with 13-of-21 passing for 140 yards and two touchdown and rushed 11 times for 93 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Hurdrumbled to 123 yards on 19 carries, including a career-long 48-yard run in the second half. He also had a second-half touchdown. The Vols racked up 331 rushing yards in the win, marking their eighth game with 200 or more rushing yards and second with 300 or more.
UT’s defense held Vanderbilt quarterback Kyler Shurmur to 15-of-34 passing for 209 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Ralph Webb led the Commodores offense with 149 rushing yards on 21 carries.
Dobbs found Von Pearson for a 17-yard touchdown strike in the first quarter as UT established momentum early. The Vols led 27-14 at halftime after closing out the first half with two big plays in the second quarter. Cameron Suttonhad an 85-yard punt-return touchdown with 4:36 remaining and Todd Kelly Jr. intercepted Shurmur with 23 seconds left in the half to halt a Vandy drive at the UT 8-yard line.
Derek Barnett recorded a safety, his second sack of the day, five minutes into the second half and Tennessee stayed in control until the end of the game.
In the third quarter, Hurd had 14-yard touchdown run and Dobbs hit Pearson for a five-yard score to push Tennessee’s lead to 43-14 entering the fourth.
SUPER SUTTON: With under five minutes left in the second quarter, Sutton returned a punt 85 yards to the end zone for his second punt-return score of the season. The score also marked Tennessee’s sixth special-teams TD (school record) of the year.
He has a UT single-season record 467 punt-return yards on the season, breaking the previous school record of 457 yards set by Bobby Majors in 1969.
Sutton also became just the fifth Vol to run two punts back for a touchdown in a single season, joining Bobby Majors (1969, 1971), Eddie Brown (1973), Stanley Morgan (1975) and Terry Fair (1996).
DOBBS DOMINATES: Early in the second half, Dobbs broke Jimmy Streater’s 1978 UT single-season record for most rushing yards by a quarterback (593). Dobbs finished the game with 93 rushing yards, and he has 623 rushing yards on the season.
MEDLEY MAKES: Aaron Medley made a 26-yard field goal with 6:01 left in the first quarter to push UT’s lead to 10-0.
Medley hit a career-long 47-yard field goal with 12:57 remaining in the second quarter to give the Vols a 20-14 lead. His previous best as a 46-yarder against Georgia in 2014.
The sophomore from Lewisburg, Tenn., added a 32-yarder in the fourth quarter to push UT’s lead to 46-14.
VOL NATION IN THE HOUSE: With Saturday’s attendance of 98,327, Tennessee posted a final 2015 home attendance average of 100,584. That mark is UT’s highest average home attendance since the 2008 season when the Vols averaged 101,448 per game.
BOWL SELECTION NEXT WEEK: Tennessee will learn which bowl it will play in on Sunday, Dec. 6.