Sept. 23, 2012
By Brian Rice
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - With the injury a week ago to Brian Randolph, who players and coaches referred to as the "quarterback of the defense," many wondered who would step up the fill the void at safety.
Byron Moore didn't wonder, he just stepped up.
Moore came up with a pair of interceptions on the night, including a key pick on the 2-yard line to end a 10-play, 65 yard drive that seemed destined to put Akron back on top in a tie game. In accomplishing the feat, he became the first Vol to have two interceptions in a game since Eric Berry in a win over Arkansas in 2007.
"Credit to the d-line for getting pressure on the quarterback," Moore said of what allowed him to make the play early in the third quarter. "Coach Sal (Sunseri) put us in the right call and had me in the right position to make the play."
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley credited Moore's growth on the field with his performance in the defensive backfield.
"He's just really settled in," Dooley said of Moore. "He's playing good football. He's playing smart football. Just doing his job, and not trying to do anything beyond what he's capable of and good things happen when you do that."
Moore's first interception of the night came on Akron's third play from scrimmage. With the game tied at 7-7, More intercepted Dalton Williams' pass into open space and returned it 20 yards to set up the first Derrick Brodus field goal of the night that gave UT its first lead of the night, 10-7.
"I feel like I played really good, but that's a testament to our defensive staff," Moore said. "They prepare us well each week, they're going to push us hard in practice every day, they're not going to let us take any days off. So I give all the credit to them, they try to bring the best out in me every day."
With the Vols set now to begin the heart of their SEC schedule, Dooley said winning the turnover battle would be a factor down the stretch.
"That's what we need on defense," Dooley said. "We've got to get turnovers."