Another bright spot from the game Saturday is the fact that Tennessee football may have finally found a defensive end to replace Kyle Phillips. LaTrell Bumphus stepped up in a huge way, and he’s another guy who bears no responsibility for what happened to the Vols in Saturday’s loss to the BYU Cougars.
Bumphus came away with just three tackles, but he had two sacks. One of those sacks came right after Jarrett Guarantano threw his pick-six. On the very next play, Bumphus sacked Zach Wilson. Unfortunately for him and the Vols, it became irrelevant because BYU scored two plays later, but Bumphus still did his part to save the team from a bad mistake.
The other sack came early in the game. Tennessee had just turned it over on downs, and the Cougars were looking to cash in down only 7-3. They had a 13-yard completion on 1st and 15 to make it 2nd and 2, appearing to have the momentum. But Bumphus then sacked Wilson, and the Cougars fumbled it on 3rd down, forcing them to punt.
Not bad for a former tight end. Now, it is true that Bumphus benefitted from highly questionable play-calling. But at the end of the day, he still cashed in when he had to, and two sacks is nothing to sneeze at. So yes, he clearly belongs on this list as one of the game’s top performers.