Vols grind out a 30-13 win over Austin Peay

Tennessee welcomes in the Governors for the first time since 2013.
James Pearce Jr. looks to build on his two sack performance in week 1 against Austin Peay.
James Pearce Jr. looks to build on his two sack performance in week 1 against Austin Peay.(WVLT)
Published: Sep. 9, 2023 at 1:14 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2023 at 8:42 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Coach Heupel speaks after Vols take down Austin Peay

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Josh Heupel looks to improve on his 4-1 record in home openers as a head coach.

The Governors are coming off a 47-23 season-opening loss to fellow FCS member Southern Illinois.

The Vols have outscored FCS opponents 121-24 in Heupel’s two seasons as head coach.


Austin Peay takes the opening kickoff and on a 4 and 2 at their own 33 the Govs gambler and and it pays off in the form of a 45 yard run by quarterback Mike DiLiello.

Governors would be be hit with a 15 yard penalty for a blindside block and on 3rd and 15 from the UT 27, the pass tp the endzone was incomplete. Govs settle for a 45 yard field to take an early 3-0 lead on the 9th ranked Vols.

MIlton off the mark with a 3rd down and 8 pass in the endzone. Vols can only gain two yards after the muffed punt, but tie AP at 3-3 with a Charles Campbell FG. Big Arm Joe just 1 for 6 so far for 11 yards. A littlie over 5 minutes remain in the opening quarter.


Both teams struggling on third down, but the Govs have brought it on 4th down converting twice, including once on their latest drive leading to another FG. Austin Peay leads Tennessee 6-3 with 8:15 left in the half.

A series of short passes and a 36 yard Jabari Small run moved the Vols deep into Govs territory, but penalties now (4-45) forces UT to settle for a 37yd. Campbell FG. We’re tied 6-6 with 4:55 remaining in the half .

Finally into the checkerboards with :15 left in the half. Milton with a 6-yard QB draw. Tennessee with little to no confidence in the vertical passing game. Short passes, strong running and penalties have been the norm for the UT offense in the first half. Vols lead 13-6.


Different start to the 2nd half for the Big Orange. Jaylen had the Wright stuff with a pair of big runs. Milton to Ramel Keyton from 9 yards out. Vols lead 20-6. 5-play (66) yard drive in 1:21.

Well after a quick start to this 2nd half, the pace has slowed considerably. Vols come up with big play as Wesley Walker gets a sack on a Govs 4th down attempt. But UT can’t convert settling for a 21yd. FG and a 23-6 lead.

Another untimely error for the Vols offense. Driving deep into Austin Peay territory, Ramel Keyton coughs up the football following a reception. Govs take over as the 3rd quarter comes to an end with UT still leading 23-6.


DB Doneiko Slaughter slips down allowing Austin Peay receiver to race pass and convert on a 52 yard TD play. The extra point pulls the Govs to within 10 at 23-13 with 9:01 left in the game.