Oct. 28, 2013
By Brian Rice
Each week, UTSports.com takes a look at the numbers from the weekend past and the weekend ahead in Four Downs. This week, a new face under center, touchdowns on the ground and Palardy continues to impress.
First Down: 75 - Joshua Dobbs Passing Yards
Dobbs came on in relief of the injured Justin Worley after halftime and proceeded to have the best statistical debut from a true freshman quarterback at Tennessee in nearly a decade.
Dobbs finished the game 5-12 for 75 yards, the most passing yards in a debut by a true freshman since Brent Schaeffer threw for 123 and Erik Ainge 118 as both made their debuts against UNLV in 2004. Since then, Tennessee has played just two true freshmen at the quarterback position, Worley did not attempt a pass in his debut at Alabama in 2011 and Tyler Bray threw for 24 yards against UT-Martin.
Other quarterbacks to debut since then were Rick Clausen in 2004 as a redshirt junior transfer from LSU, Jonathan Crompton as a redshirt freshman in 2006, Nick Stephens as a redshirt sophomore and B.J. Coleman as a redshirt freshman in 2008 and Matt Simms as a redshirt junior in 2010.
The 75 yards by Dobbs is the most by any UT QB in an initial appearance since Simms threw for 181 yards against UT-Martin in 2010.
Dobbs is also the first Vol quarterback to lead his team to points on his first possession under center since Simms directed Tennessee to a field goal on the opening possession in 2010 and the first true freshman to do it since Ainge threw a 42-yard touchdown to cap his first drive as a Vol against UNLV in 2004.
Second Down: 3 - Yards on Rajion Neal's Fourth Quarter Touchdown
Neal's touchdown run had several significant notes attached to it. The senior ran for a touchdown in his fourth-straight game and six out of eight on the year. He has nine rushing touchdowns on the season, two more than the total for his entire career heading into the 2013 season.
Neal became the first opposing layer to score a touchdown in Bryant-Denny Stadium since Malcome Kennedy caught a TD pass from Johnny Manziel in the fourth quarter of Texas A&M's 29-24 win over the Tide on Nov. 10, 2012. In that stretch, Alabama shut out Western Carolina, Auburn, Ole Miss and Arkansas and held Colorado State and Georgia State to a combined 3 field goals.
The 10 points scored by Tennessee is a higher total than the last six visitors to Tuscaloosa combined, dating back to that Texas A&M win.
Third Down: Quick Hits
70 - Rushing yards for Neal, giving him 763 for the season, a new career high for yards in a single season. A year ago, Neal had 708 in 10 games. He is on pace to become Tennessee's first 1,000-yard rusher since Tauren Poole ran for 1,034 in 13 games in 2010.
238 - Consecutive games the Volunteers have scored, thanks to Michael Palardy's third-quarter field goal. UT was last shut out by Florida on Sept. 17, 1994.
9 - Field goals on the year by Palardy after his 27-yarder against Alabama.
56 - Yards on Palardy's longest punt Saturday. The senior now has 10 50-plus yard punts on the season. Three of his five punts against UA were downed inside the 20.
1 - Turnover forced by the UT defense. The Volunteer defense has 18 takeaways in 2013, surpassing the total of 17 in all of 2012. UT has 12 interceptions, which ranks second in the SEC, and six fumble recoveries.
15 - True freshmen to appear in a game in 2013 with the debut of Dobbs Saturday. 120 - Justin Worley passing yards. The junior has thrown for 100-plus yards in all 8 games this season.
43 - Yards on Cody Blanc's first-career catch in the second quarter.
146 - Kickoff return yards by Devrin Young, a new career high.
Fourth Down: A Look Ahead
0 - Wins against Missouri, the only SEC team Tennessee has never defeated.
11 - All time wins on Nov. 2, the next time UT takes the field. This will be the first time since 2002 the Vols have played on the date.
10 - Consecutive road losses in October. The last UT win on the road in the month was a 33-21 triumph over Mississippi State in 2007.
11 - Consecutive road losses overall, dating back to a 24-10 win at Vanderbilt in 2010, a streak UT will look to end on Saturday when the Vols travel to Columbia, Mo. and it's once again Football Time in Tennessee!
23 - States the Vols will have played in after Saturday at Missouri.