KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It wasn’t pretty, but the Vols got the job done as Tennessee picks up its second SEC win of the season against Texas A&M, 20-13.
One of the storylines heading into the game was which receivers would step up in Bru McCoy’s absence. It was freshman Chas Nimrod early who caught a 10-yard Joe Milton pass over the middle for a first down on the Vols’ first drive of the game. However, the Vols weren’t able to capitalize as Jaylen Wright was tackled for a one-yard loss on third-and-three.
On the other hand, the Aggies were able to take advantage on their first drive of the game for the early 7-0 lead. Texas A&M quarterback Max Johnson connected with Noah Thomas on a 29-yard pass to bring the Aggies in the red zone, and then Johnson ran it in himself from two yards out for the touchdown.
On Tennessee’s second drive, Milton connected with Nimrod again to extend the drive on third down. Jaylen Wright found an open hole and exploded up the middle for 15 yards, and then another 23 yards to bring the Vols into the red zone. An offsides call brought the Vols back to the 30-yard line on third down, Dylan Sampson rushed for 12 yards but the Aggies forced a turnover on downs as Milton’s run on 4th and 2 fell short.
The Vol defense came up big on the Aggies’ ensuing drive, forcing a quick three and out as the Aggies were pushed back four yards on the three-play four-yard drive.
Tennessee carried over that momentum from the stop into a score on the other end. Jabari Small used a nine-yard and 11-yard rush to bring the Vols to the seven-yard line. Milton then connected with Jacob Warren in the end zone to tie the game at seven. With that score, Warren tied his career-high from 2021 with his third touchdown of the season.
Despite suffering two sacks on the opening drive of the second quarter, the Aggies got on the board thanks to a 41-yard field goal from Randy Bond for the 10-7 lead.
On the Vols first drive of the second quarter, the Aggies helped out with two defensive pass interference calls as Tennessee marched down the field. However, a holding call on McCallan Castles moved the Vols back and Tennessee turned to Charles Campbell on a 51-yard field goal try. Campbell’s kick was no good and the Vols trailed by three heading into the locker room at half.
Tennessee made five straight trips into scoring range, but had just one touchdown to show for it midway through the third quarter.
Then came the turning point of the game, courtesy of Dee Williams.
Jackson Ross’ punt was downed at the one-yard line by Williams. The Vols defense forced a quick three-and-out with a zero yard gain. On the ensuing punt, Williams took it 39 yards to the house on the return to give Tennessee its first lead of the day, 14-10.
Texas A&M responded on the following drive, pulling within one thanks to a 24-yard field goal.
The Vols started off the fourth quarter on the Texas A&M 36-yard line, Joe Milton ran it to the 17-yard line, but then was picked off by Aggies’ Josh DeBerry as he threw one towards the end zone.
The Aggies’ took it down the field on a 10-play 52-yard drive, but showed no points for it as the 50-yard field goal try sailed wide left.
Tennessee tacked on another three points on a Charles Campbell 31-yard field goal to extend the Vols lead to 17-13. Campbell added another late fourth to give the Vols a 20-13 advantage.
The Vols travel to Tuscaloosa Saturday for a matchup with Alabama.