Tennessee football: 5 takeaways from Vols 42-41 OT win vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: A general view inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium during a walkthrough tour on August 15, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: A general view inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium during a walkthrough tour on August 15, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Tennessee football put away the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 42-41 in double-overtime. Here are five takeaways from the Volunteers’ win.

A win is a win, right? Maybe not. Breaking in a new starting quarterback, Tennessee football overcame a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter to come back and defeat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 42-41 in double-overtime.

The Vols stopped Georgia Tech’s attempt to go for two and the win in the second OT after they scored their TD.

Butch Jones can breath a sigh of relief. He made some questionable coaching decisions but kept the Vols composed when it mattered most.

Tennessee gave up over 500 yards on the ground, as quarterback TaQuon Marshall scored five touchdowns for Georgia Tech, rushed for 249 yards and added another 120 through the air.

However, Quinten Dormady led the Vols on a late fourth-quarter drive after Georgia Tech’s second turnover of the game. Then, after a second missed field goal as regulation expired, the two headed for overtime.

Here are five takeaways from Tennessee football’s unlikely win.

1. The Vols stayed true to General Neyland’s game maxims.

This was never truer. Paul Johnson‘s triple-option dominated Tennessee football all night. Georgia Tech outgained the Vols by nearly 300 yards and had 655 yards overall. But they committed no turnovers, while Georgia Tech committed two and also had two missed field goals. Tennessee scored touchdowns off both turnovers.

Georgia Tech also had a drive stalled due to a key penalty. They had four penalties for 37 yards while the Vols only had two for 20 yards. So Tennessee made the fewest mistakes, they played for and made the breaks, and they didn’t quit win the breaks went against them. Oh, they also won the kicking game.

2. Rush defense was horrendous.

We knew this was going to be an issue going in. But Georgia Tech found the perfect guy to replace Justin Thomas in TaQuon Marshall, and as a result, the Vols had trouble all night. It was reminiscent of what happened last year down the stretch.

Tennessee could not stop Georgia Tech knowing they were going to run the football, and that’s a huge problem. Sure, the triple-option is a unique offense to go against. But it should not have been that bad. The Vols never actually stopped Georgia Tech after the first quarter. And it was almost all on the ground.

3. Quinten Dormady is clutch!

In his first game as the starting quarterback for Tennessee football with Jarrett Guarantano breathing down his throat, Quinten Dormady went 8-of-20 in the first half. But he went 12-of-17 the rest of the way and led the Vols back.

Also, on their final offensive drive in regulation, he led them 95 yards down the field knowing they needed a touchdown to tie the game. It was incredibly impressive, and the Vols may have found their quarterback. He also had help, which is where we go next.

4. Playmakers on offense are obvious

Tennessee football found a new playmaker in Marquez Callaway. And he stepped up right after Jauan Jennings had to leave the field due to injury with two huge touchdowns and a couple more huge catches. But Callaway is not the only playmaker who was crucial this game.

John Kelly stepped up as well with a huge day, as expected, and the interior on the offensive line really settled in. As a result, the Vols had plenty of great plays down the stretch.

5. Tennessee football was not meant to defend the triple-option!

So it wasn’t just a Phillip Fulmer-John Chavis thing. This is exactly the way the Vols beat the Air Force Falcons in 2006, the last pure triple-option team they faced. Air Force went for two to win late and didn’t get it.

And then the Vols got destroyed in three bowl games against Big 12 teams that ran it in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Simply put, they can’t defend this offense. There’s a chance the rush defense is truly that bad. And they have plenty of things to work on. But what’s clear is they can’t defend that offense.