BRISTOL, Tenn. (WKRN) – By all accounts, Tennessee’s football team took the checkered flag against Virginia Tech in the Battle of Bristol.
By all accounts, it was a money grab for both teams, as well as for the host/promoter Bristol Motor Speedway, who ushered in a record crowd numbering over 156,900 college football fans.
It was a record for attendance at a college football game and not likely to be broken any time in the future.
Early on, the underdog Hokies played the role of a bully, its defensive line
pushing the Vols’ offense around. The Vols first three possessions produced three punts.
That was before they found their rhythm, scoring two touchdowns in five minutes in the second half, on their way to a 45-24 win to remain unbeaten at 2-0 with Ohio on the menu next week.
Dropped in the weekly AP and Coaches polls even though they beat a good Appalachian State team in week one, the Vols came in to the Tri-Cities with a chip on their shoulder pads.
Their defense caused Virginia Tech to lose three fumbles. The Hokies had five turnovers to the Vols one. The late General Neyland would smile at those numbers.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs put his name in the Vols record book, as he became the leading yard producer on the ground for UT quarterbacks. He ran 14 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns. His longest run was 40 yards.
Down 14-0 in the first quarter, Dobbs and Co. started putting points on the board.
“I think we woke up. We didn’t start fast like we wanted, but I was proud of the way we responded,’’ Jones said. “It was an amazing atmosphere.’’
Virginia Tech had some better numbers on the stat sheet. They had 400 yards against the Vols 330. They had 21 first downs to Tech’s 15. They passed for 214 yards, the Vols were held to 91 yards. The Vols led the ground game with 239 yards to Tech’s 186.
The Vols were more disciplined on the field, taking only six penalties for 66 yards as opposed to Tech’s 8 penalties for 101 yards of real estate.
After the game, Jones soaked in the atmosphere his team enjoyed.
“It was an amazing spectacle,’’ Jones said. “I don’t know if this will ever be duplicated.’’Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at email@example.com.