Oct. 29, 2012
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, touchdowns, passing yards, career milestones and a look ahead at Homecoming on The Hill.
First Down: 3 - Zach Rogers Touchdowns
The senior wide receiver has been an important part of the Tennessee offense all season long, but Rogers had a breakout game against the Gamecocks, hauling in three touchdown passes from Tyler Bray. Rogers became the ninth Tennessee player to record three TD catches in a game, and the second to do it this season after Justin Hunter pulled down three against Georgia State. Donte Stallworth is the only Vol with two games wither three TD receptions.
Rogers' three TD catches tied for the most ever given up by South Carolina in a game, something that had only been done on three previous occasions, most recently by Florida's Ike Hilliard in 1995. Mitchell Galloway of East Carolina (1994) and Ron Sellers of Florida State (1968) are the only other players to achieve the mark against the Gamecocks.
Entering the season, Rogers had two TD receptions in his entire Tennessee career, but already has five this season.
Rogers set a new career high with 107 receiving yards, the first 100+-yard game of his tenure at UT and tied a career high with six total receptions. It was the third performance of 100+ yards by a Vol receiver this season after Hunter's 146 and 115 against Georgia State and Akron, respectively, first against an SEC opponent.
Second Down: 368 - Passing Yards for Tyler Bray
The aerial show at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday extended beyond just Rogers' performance. Tyler Bray's 368 yards passing marked the highest total given up to a player by South Carolina since Cam Newton's 335 for Auburn in the 2010 SEC Championship Game. It was his 10th-career game with 300+ yards passing, tops among all active SEC quarterbacks and fourth this season.
With the 368 yards, Bray moved up another step on the UT career passing list, where at fifth place with 6,114 yards he is sandwiched by a pair of current Vol Network broadcasters. Jeff Francis, whose 5,867 yards Bray passed on Saturday, is the former radio sideline reporter and current contributor to Vol Calls and Vol Network PPV broadcasts, while current sideline reporter Andy Kelly's 6,397-yard mark is next in Bray's sights.
Bray threw for four touchdowns against the Gamecocks, the third time this season he has reached that total, and the seventh time in his career.
Third Down: Quick Hits
15 - Tackles for Herman Lathers, a new career high. This was the sixth double-digit tackle performance of his Tennessee career and second this season after a 12-stop game against Mississippi State.
Lathers also stopped two consecutive South Carolina drives in the fourth quarter. His second sack of the season, pulling down Connor Shaw for a 12-yard loss, forced a field goal, then his first-career interception on 4th down gave the Vols the ball back with just under five minutes remaining.
472 - Yards of total offense by Tennessee. It was the highest total by a South Carolina opponent since Auburn rolled up 589 against the Gamecocks in the 2010 SEC Championship Game.
90 - Justin Hunter receiving yards. It was the sixth game this year that Hunter finished with 70 or more yards receiving. As a team, the Vols have 15 individual receiving performances of 70+ yards, including three on Saturday.
61 - Yards covered on Vincent Dallas' third-quarter touchdown catch. The TD was the first of the sophomore's career and also his longest play. His three catches Saturday matched his total for all of 2011.
13 - Yards covered on Alton "Pig" Howard's touchdown pass to Rivera, the first TD pass this season for Tennessee thrown by someone other than Tyler Bray.
0 - Rushing touchdowns for A.J. Johnson, the first game this season in which he has lined up as a quarterback and not scored a touchdown.
Fourth Down - A Look Ahead
68 - All-time wins on Homecoming on The Hill. The Vols are 68-17-3 in Homecoming games, including three in a row. Since 1984, Tennessee is 26-2 on Homecoming, with the only losses coming to #1 Miami in 2002 and Wyoming in 2008.
9 - Consecutive regular-season wins over non-conference foes, the longest run since the Vols went 10-0 in a stretch from 2000-02.
7 - Tennessee wins over current members of the Sun Belt conference heading into the first-ever meeting with Troy on Saturday. The only loss against a current Sun Belt team was a 21-14 loss to North Texas in 1975.