Volunteers wear down Wildcats in Outback, 45-6
Tampa, Florida (January 1) – Like last season, collegefootballfan.com ended a great season with a dominant victory by the Tennessee Vols in a bowl game. Our season ended with a whimper again, and not a bang – similar to many of the bowl games played this season – as Tennessee (9-4) wore down the Northwestern (10-3) defense in the second half to triumph, 45-6. At least the previous three bowls we attended since this past Monday were somewhat competitive relative to this one. We picked this over Michigan vs. Florida in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on this day in Orlando figuring the Wolverines would outmatch the Gators and they did, 41-7 (and we flew into Tampa so our early return flight out would be closer the next morning). The difference this year was Tennessee got off to a slower start as the Northwestern defense held them in check early versus the flying start the Vols got off to against slow-footed Iowa last season in The Taxslayer Bowl. In the third against Iowa, they led 45-7 until HC Butch Jones sat his starters, and Iowa scored three TDs after to make the final score “respectable” at 45-28.
In this one, Northwestern’s defense started tough as UT led at halftime, 17-6. But momentum was going the Vols way and in the second half the Wildcat offense made no adjustments while their punter, Hunter Niswander (7 for 34 yd. average), continued to punt the football with the nose of the ball pointing toward the ground giving it a backspin as if to keep it out of the end zone. In other words, all his punts were short and many rolled backwards when he had no reason to do that. His coaches couldn’t see that? Anyway, the offense and the punt unit kept their defense on the field too long and with bad field position throughout the entire game. Tennessee eventually wore down a very good tackling defense on warm day in Tampa. Final Result: 45-6.
Again, it was a disappointing ending for a great season in which we got to celebrate our 500th college football game since 1979. Come back and check out more “Steveo’s Salvoes” as we near the championship game and wrap up our season to plan for the next. Happy New Year!
Key stats for this game:
QB Josh Dobbs 14 for 25 passing for 166 yards; 12 carries for 48 yards, 2 TDs
RB Jalen Hurd 24 carries for 130 yards
RB Alvin Kamara 11 carries for 53 yards and 1 TD, 3 catches for 19 yards
TE Alex Ellis 3 catches for 74 yards
Total yards 420
QB Clayton Thorson 8 for 20 passing, 57 yard, 2 INTs
RB Justin Jackson 14 carries for 74 yards, 1 TD
4 INTs thrown
Total yards 261