1. Plenty of rust on both sides
We already mentioned the holding penalties, the fumble and the missed touchdown passes by Joe Milton III. The truth is, though, that Tennessee football’s season-opener had rust all the way around, and both sides benefitted from it.
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Rocky Top actually had two turnovers, as there was another fumble when Hendon Hooker came in late with the game in hand. Those miscues were simply part of running such a high-powered offense and the Vols being in their first game doing so. There are plenty of other things that could have gone worse.
At the same time, UT actually benefitted from Bowling Green Falcons miscues. There was a 4th and short play in which BGSU had players run opposite directions on a play-action. Mistakes like that cost them all night.
There’s a reason that the Vols had five penalties for 45 yards and the Falcons had 11 penalties for 85 yards. In what truly was a season-opener and one on Thursday night at that, two teams that wear orange just couldn’t keep things consistent on the field. They both benefitted each other, although the Vols may have benefitted more.
One major exception to this is kickers. BGSU kicker Nate Needham hit both attempts, and both were beyond 40 while one was from 50. New Tennessee football kicker Chase McGrath hit all his extra points and his only attempt as well, from 43 yards.