KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Both the offense and defense for the University of Tennessee Volunteers weaved their way to the checkerboards for a combined eight times to take down the University of Connecticut Huskies
Within the first 30 seconds of the contest, Tennessee was rolling. Jaylen Wright got the first two handoffs of the day, taking the second 82-yards to the house.
That touchdown made Wright just the second player in Tennessee history to have multiple 80+ yard runs.
Wright’s day didn’t end there. By the beginning of the second quarter, he eclipsed 100 rushing yards. The performance marked his sixth time doing so this year, the most by a Vol in a single season since 2015.
On the Huskies’ response, Tennessee’s defense held UConn out of the end zone after earning a first down on the 1-yard line. The Huskies settled for a 22-yard field goal from Noe Ruelas, the only score from UConn of the first half.
With a slight lead of 7-3, Tennessee decided it was time to build. Joe Milton found a wide open Ramel Keyton for a 60-yard touchdown as the first quarter winded down. Milton followed that gorgeous execution with a 6-yard rush of his own, the first of three Vol touchdowns in the second quarter.
Tennessee’s tempo seemed to be back in check, Milton’s 6-yard touchdown capped the longest drive of the first half (2:47).
The long plays weren’t quite over for the Vols. Milton went back to the air, placing it in the hands of Squirrel White. The UConn defense was no match for the sophomore’s speed, with White roping in a 82-yard touchdown to put Tennessee up 28-3 with less than five minutes in the half.
Then came the Vols’ defense. Tyler Baron scooped up a fumble forced by Gabe Jeudy-Lally and returned it for 24 yards, the first “scoop n’ score” of Tennessee’s season. That wasn’t the only shinning moment of the day for the defense. The Vols held the Huskies to just 23 rushing yards in the first half.
Tennessee entered the break with a 35-3 lead over UConn.
The second half picked off right where the first left off. Pick 6’s from Jaylen McCullough followed by Aaron Beasley made it three consecutive scores from the Tennessee defense and gave the Vols a 49-3 lead.
Between Baron, McCullough and Beasley’s scores, the Vols made history, marking the first time Tennessee has scored three defensive touchdowns in a game.
The defense let the offense have the keys back, with quarterback Nico Iamaleava earning the first touchdown of his collegiate career with a 19-yard toss to McCallen Castles.
Josh Turbyville closed out the scoring for the Vols with a 33-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
Tennessee won big on Homecoming, 59-3.