2 tackles (1 solo); 1 sack; 1 pass deflection; 1 QB hurry
With the news that junior college edge rusher Byron Young would not be eligible, the pressure was on Tyler Baron to make the big plays for Tennessee football’s defense Thursday night. Baron did just that, coming away with one of the biggest plays in the game, one that was more than enough to put him on this list.
In the second quarter, the Bowling Green Falcons were driving while trailing only 14-3. They could have scored a touchdown in the red zone and made the game dangerously close. However, Baron had the key defensive play to make sure UT stayed in control. He burst through the line and sacked Matt McDonald, forcing BGSU to settle for another field goal.
On the night, Baron did a little bit of everything. Although he has just one registered solo tackle and sack, he was in on multiple sacks and helped blow up the line a few times to make sure that McDonald was consistently under pressure. Breaking up a pass on top of that is pretty impressive.
We could have put Bryson Eason on here as well, as he actually had two tackles for a loss off the edge. However, Baron’s big plays were more key to the game, and he was a lot more involved on plays in which he didn’t even register any stats, so he gets on this list.