KNOXVILLE - The Tennessee Vols are bowl eligible for their third consecutive season after putting up a solid 55-0 win over Tennessee Tech.
The Vols scored a touchdown on their first four possessions of the game before turning the ball over on third down for the first time in the second quarter. They only punted the ball three times all game.
The first touchdown came on a 30-yard pass from Josh Dobbs to Josh Malone on the opening drive.
Malone scored again, followed by two touchdowns from running back John Kelly, receiver Jauan Jennings, and two from freshman back Carline Fils-Aime.
The running back situation was highlighted heading into this matchup with the loss of Vols starter Jalen Hurd who plans to transfer, and Alvin Kamara who is sidelined with injury.
Tennessee rushed for 177 yards and Kelly accounted for 104 of those, along with 11 yards receiving.
With a large lead, reserves saw playing time which included backup quarterback Quinten Dormady and freshman wide receiver Marquez Calloway, who returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
This is the Vols sixth win of the season.The team had come off a three-game losing streak against SEC teams.
Early in the season, Tennessee was the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC East and head to Atlanta for the SEC Championship match. The three losses put a huge damper on their chances-- making it so the Vols would have to win out for the rest of the season while also hoping for #10 Florida to lose one of its remaining SEC matchups.
A ray of renewed hope has appeared for Tennessee, though, thanks to the Arkansas Razorbacks. Florida was upset by Arkansas 31 to 10 Saturday, meaning the Vols are in a much better position to regain the SEC East. The Gators are the favorites next week when they take on South Carolina, but they are likely to face tough opposition in their final SEC matchup against LSU.
If Tennessee wins all of its remaining games against Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt-- then the only thing likely standing between the Vols and a trip to Atlanta is the outcome of the Florida/LSU matchup on November 19th.