Smith's First TD a Special Moment

Nov. 9, 2013

By Brian Rice

Though his stats weren't as eye-popping as in his starting debut against Missouri a week ago, Joshua Dobbs made his mark for the Tennessee offense against Auburn.

Dobbs completed 16 passes for 128 yards, including a career-long 30-yard completion to Marquez North on the game's opening drive. He also ran for 50 yards on 10 carries with a 32-yarder that was just a yard short of his career-long.

"I felt little bit more comfortable," Dobbs said of his second start. "Every rep is crucial. As the season has progressed, things are becoming more natural. I feel like I am learning well." It also helped Dobbs that the offensive line paved the way for 226 rushing yards, including another 100-yard day from Rajion Neal.

"The run game is a big part of our offense, and the offensive line did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage," said Dobbs. "They made holes for not only myself but Marlin Lane and Rajion Neal as well. The running backs did a great job of making people miss and getting extra yards after contact."

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Coming to the sideline in the second quarter, Butch Jones reminded Jacques Smith to act like he had been there before. The only problem? He hadn't been where he just came from - the end zone.

Smith scored the first touchdown of his Tennessee career Saturday with an interception return for a touchdown to pull UT within a touchdown in the late goings of the second quarter.

The senior dropped back into coverage and picked off a low screen pass, one of just seven passes attempted by Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall on the afternoon. He credited the result of the play with the preparation he did this week.

"It was a read that I saw from on film and studying them," Smith said of identifying the play. "He gave me the key and I knew the play was happening immediately. As I went to go out, I saw the running back flash across my eyes, and that confirmed I knew what was happening, a slip screen, and the quarterback made a bad throw."

Smith pulled in the ball and returned it 18 yards for the touchdown. An emphatic spike of the ball after crossing the goal line resulted in a 15-yard penalty, hence the warning from Jones.

"He got into me a little bit," Smith said. "As a senior, setting an example for the younger guys I shouldn't have done that."

But nobody could really blame him for the celebration. Smith hadn't seen the end zone since high school, and had never scored a defensive touchdown at any level.

Fellow lineman Daniel Hood intercepted a pass earlier this season, but Smith's was the first INT return for a touchdown by a Tennessee lineman since Wes Brown's 25-yard pick-six in 2009. Brown's came on his final play at Neyland Stadium, Smith hopes to make a few more when he returns to face the Commodores on Senior Day in two weeks.

"Every momentum swing, we talk about we're responsible for creating our own opportunities and we create our own opportunity, and then just like that the momentum switches again," Jones said. "Jacques Smith made a great play and he was dropping in coverage in a fire zone and did a great job. Again, now we have to be able to seize that momentum and capitalize."





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