For the first time since 2015, Tennessee football won its season-opener without the game coming down to the final possession. It also, ironically, happened against the same program six years later, albeit in much uglier fashion. The Vols beat the Bowling Green Falcons 38-6 Thursday night to kick off the Josh Heupel era.
Quarterback Joe Milton III got things started off by running for a touchdown on the opening drive, and he then directed a touchdown on the second drive to build up a 14-0 lead for the Vols. After that they went cold and only led 14-6 at halftime, but two more touchdowns on their first three possessions in the second half broke the game open.
With the win, Rocky Top moves to 1-0 and will face the Pittsburgh Panthers next. Bowling Green, who is coming off an 0-5 season and enters is second year under new head coach Scot Loeffler, falls to 0-1 and has now lost nine straight. Here are five things we learned from Tennessee football’s season-opening win.
5. Offense moves fast
Danny White touted Heupel’s fun brand of football when he hired him away from the UCF Knights years ago. Well, he was certainly vindicated after that opener. Heupel’s tempo was on full display for the first time on Rocky Top, and it truly is something to behold. No amount of highlights does it justice the way seeing it in live action does.
The Vols’ first touchdown drive was 12 plays and went 66 yards. It didn’t even take three minutes off the clocks. Their second touchdown drive was eight plays for 67 yards and took one second longer than two minutes off the clock.
All three of their touchdown drives in the second half took less than two minutes and went over 50 yards, and two of them went over 70 yards. Tennessee football finished with 88 plays run on the day. Simply put, the offense is fast and runs lots of plays, and if anything else, that will be exciting to watch all year.