BOWL ELIGIBLE! Vols rout South Alabama 60-14

Tennessee becomes Bowl eligible after imroving to 6-5 on the season
KNOXVILLE, TN - October 16, 2021 - Linebacker Byron Young #6 and Linebacker Jeremy Banks #33 of...
KNOXVILLE, TN - October 16, 2021 - Linebacker Byron Young #6 and Linebacker Jeremy Banks #33 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Ian Cox/Tennessee Athletics(Tennessee Athletics)
Published: Nov. 20, 2021 at 3:44 PM EST
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Heupel Postgame

Vols Head Coach Josh Heupel speaks after Tennessee demolishes South Alabama. More:

Posted by WVLT on Saturday, November 20, 2021

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee continues its three-game homestand to finish the regular season with a matchup against South Alabama on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

Both teams enter the game with identical 5-5 records and will be looking to secure bowl eligibility with a win on Saturday night.


The game will be televised on ESPNU with Clay Matvick (PxP) and Rocky Boiman (analyst) on the call. Kickoff is slated for 7:32 p.m. ET.Fans can listen to Tennessee’s official radio broadcast on the Vol Network (WIVK-FM 107.7/WNML-FM 99.1) and satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 137, XM Ch. 190, Internet Ch. 961). A live audio stream of the broadcast will also be available on and the Official Gameday App.


Vols lead series, 1-0

Saturday will be just the second ever meeting between the two programs. Tennessee won the only previous meeting, 31-24, in 2013. Rajion Neal ran for a career-high 169 yards and a touchdown while quarterback Justin Worley threw for 204 yards and a pair of scores.

Among those in the house tonight, Lady Vols legend and Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings and former Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler who spent some time pregame with another former QB, UT head coach Josh Heupel.


46 degrees at kickoff as South Alabama got the ball first.

The Jags would go three and out thanks in large part to a tackle for loss by Omari Thomas on 2nd down. USA was forced to punt.

The Vols wasted little time moving down the field. Hendon Hooker with a couple big pass plays. The first to Ramel Keyton into Jauars territory and then on 3rd and 10, a quick flip out to Velus Jones would net UT a first down on 3rd and 10. Jabari Small would run 9 yards down to the Jags one and then take it in on the next play for Tennessee’s first points of the night. PAT good as the Vols lead 7-0 at the 11:13 mark of the first quarter.

A pass play would move South Alabama just into Tennessee territory, but the drive stalls and the Jags are forced to punt it back to the Big Orange.

Drive number two for UT starts at their own 12 yard line. Nothing doing on the first two downs forcing a 3rd and 10. Hooker hits tight end Jacob Warren for 13 yards and a first down. Then it’s Small ripping off a 28 yard run. A pass interference would move the ball down to the USA 28 yard line. Then on 2nd and 10 at the 17, Freshman Jaylen Wright takes the hand off from Hooker, makes a cut up the middle and powers his way into the end zone. The point after by Chase McGrath makes it 140 Vols with 6:14 remaining in the 1st quarter.

On their third possession facing a 4th and 6 at the Vols 34, the Jags convert on a Desmond Trotter pass down to the UT 21. Then USA was congronted with a 3rd and 3 at the UT 13, Desmond Trotter runs after going back to pass but comes up just short. The Jags would pick up that short yard on 4th and one as the first quarter comes to an end.


On third and goal at the UT 5 yard line Trotter misses a wide open receiver in the end zone. Vols dodge a bullet and on 4th and goal, Trotter is sacked by Trevon Flowers. A loss of 13 and the ball over on downs to Tennessee.

Tennessee defense holds again and after a 51 yard punt, UT’s Velus Jones returns it 33 yards to the South Alabama 36 yard line. Vols back in business again.

A first down completion was negated by a Cooper Mays holding penalty making it 1st and 20 Vols at the USA 46, Hooker connects again with Tillman for 16 yards. A six yard Jabari Small run gives UT a first down. And on first down from the 24, Hooker connects with tight end Princeton fant over the middle for another Tennessee touchdown. PAT makes it 28-0 Vols with 6:41 remaining in the first half.

On 4th and 6 at 41, Jags attempt and successfully execut a fake pount rushing the ball 26 yards into UT territory. Later on 3rd and goal at the 3, Trotter connects with Lincoln Sefcik in the end zone. Point after makes it 28-7 Vols with 1:36 remaining in the first half.

Tennessee answers right away with an impressive 96 yards kickoff return for a TD by Velus Jones. Vols regain their 28 point lead at 35-7 with 1:18 left in the 2nd quarter.

Tennessee holds USA on three plays, gets the ball back, but Hendon Hooker is sacked for a loss of three yards ending the first half with Tennessee leading the Sunbelt Conference opponents, 35 to 7.


South Alabama opens the 2nd half with and recovers an onside kick, but the Jags go three and out and are forced to punt it to Tennessee.

Vols start their first drive of the 2nd half at their own 16 yard line and promptly drive down the field behind the passing of Hendon Hooker. The final three yards come courtesy of Jabari Small as the sophomore running back gets in the end zone for the 2nd time in the game. Vols increase their lead to 42-7 over the Jaguars.

A pretty pass from HendonHooker to Velus Jones gets the Vols inside the South Alabama 10 yard line. From there it’s Hooker running it in on 3rd and goal from the six. Vols extend their lead to 49-7 with 7:29 remaining in the 3rd qtr. Hooker now with 273 yards passing, with 2 throwing and 1 rushing touchdown.

3rd quarter comes to an end with the Jaguars in UT territory. A 3rd down sack leaves South Alabama with a 4th and 7 at the Tennessee 20 heading into the 4th quarter.


USA coach Kane Wommack decides to go for it and Desmond Trotter’s pass is incomplete as the jaguars turn the ball over on downs.

Vols take over at their own 20 with Joe Milton in at quarterback for Tennessee. Len’Neth Whitehead in at running back breaks off a big run deep into USA territory and on second and goal from the 5, Whitehead gets the call and walks into the end zone. Vols increase their lead over South Alabama to 56-7 with 12:50 remaining in the game.

On 4th and 3 at their own 32 yard line, the Jags go for it and convert it into a 68 yard touchdown. Desmond Trotter passes to Jalen Tolbert, who makes a teriffic catch and outraces the Tennessee secondary to the end zone.Vols lead 56-14 with 11:02 left in the game.

Tennessee picks up a pair of safety’s late, one on defense and then on a botched South Alabama punt with the ball sailing through the endzone. The Vols win it 60-14 and improve to 6-5 on the season and yes, get themselves in the postseason conversation after becoming Bowl eligible.

UT will close out the season at home next Saturday against in-state rival Vanderbilt.

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