Tennessee’s second football season under Josh Heupel has arrived.
The Vols will play Ball State at 7 p.m. ET at Neyland Stadium. It airs on SEC Network.
UT hopes to continue its record production from last season, when it was the fastest offense in college football. The return of quarterback Hendon Hooker and wide receiver Cedric Tillman should help.
HOW TO WATCH THE GAME: Tennessee vs. Ball State on TV, Live Stream
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But the Vols also want to improve the defense, which posted plenty of tackles for loss but struggled against the pass. Edge rusher Byron Young and linebacker Jeremy Banks lead this unit.
Last season, UT was 7-6 with a loss to Purdue in the Music City Bowl. Ball State went 6-7 with a loss to Georgia State in the Camellia Bowl.
Tennessee Football Plays at Ball State to Start Josh Heupel’s Second Season: Live Score Updates
1:04 p.m. remaining: West Virginia just tied the game at Pitt. 24 all at the start of the fourth quarter.
1:40 p.m. remaining: Mainly reserves offensive players for Steals in the final quarter. And Jimmy Holiday has a 53-yard touchdown reception in the middle. Joe Milton looked comfortable in two practices. The Vols lead 59-7.
1:48 remaining: Dylan Sampson was the focal point of this campaign. He had a 19-yard catch and his 2-yard touchdown run up UT 52-7.
7h55 remaining: Joe Milton is at QB. Hendon Hooker’s party is over. It’s not a bad start to the 2022 season at all for Hooker.
8h00 remaining: Ball State is on the board. Tanner Koziol catches a pass from 3 yards just inside the end zone line on the right side. Tennessee 45, Ball State 7.
11:52 remaining: Jaylen Wright bursts for a long gain, then ends the Vols’ first drive in the second half with a touchdown run. Flights 45, Ball State zero.
Wright now has 86 rushing yards tonight. By the way, West Virginia took the lead from Pitt, early in the third quarter.
1:15 p.m. remaining: Vols gets the ball to start the second half. Attendance is 92,236.
HALF-TIME: Tennessee 38, ball state 0.
Some halftime stats…
Hendon Hooker: 17-23, 211 yards and four touchdowns (two assists, two rushing)
Jabari Small: 13 carries, 63 yards and a TD
Cedric Tillman: 5 catches, 59 yards
Bru McCoy: 3 catches, 41 yards
Aaron Beasley: 8 total tackles and a QB rush
32 seconds left: Ball State’s Will Jones nearly scored on a screen but is ruled after review that he lost control of the ball before crossing the end zone line. The ball hit the pylon after being dropped, and it’s a touchback. Tennessee ball.
1h45 remaining: Touch Tennessee! Hendon Hooker to Walker Merrill on a simple post route. Merrill was wide open for his first college touchdown, a 16-yard catch. Flights 38, Ball State no score.
4:19 remaining: Kamal Hadden knocks out Ball State’s John Paddock on a softball thrown down the right sideline. Get ugly now. The Tennessee defense is playing well.
4:33 remaining: Touch Tennessee! Jabari Small’s first TD of the year from 7 yards with a significant stack push. Flights had a short field. Six plays, 53 yards. Flights 31, Ball State no score.
8:24 remaining: Tennessee starts their next drive with their own OPI, which leads to a three-and-out. Paxton Brooks plays for the first time.
9h40 remaining: Ball State must throw into UT territory after a dodgy offensive pass interference penalty on fourth down (Vol fans wouldn’t want that called on Tennessee receivers) after a really good catch. The Vols defense has good team speed tonight, although the pass rush hasn’t made its mark yet.
2:29 p.m. remaining: Touching Tennessee. Hendon Hooker has his second TD run of the day, three yards out. He has three total touchdowns in a quarter and is changing. Flights 24, Ball State 0.
Bru McCoy is going to be tough to tackle in the open. Watch and play hard with the ball. He has two catches for 28 yards so far.
End of term: Vols leads 17-0. Ramel Keyton’s 32-yard catch helps Tennessee break into Ball State territory. The Vols will have 2nd-and-4 in the Ball State 28 to start the second quarter.
4:02 remaining: Touch Tennessee! Hendon Hooker keeps it one yard away after a Ball State defensive pass interference penalty. Flights 17, Ball State 0.
5h15 remaining: Tennessee goes there for 4th-and-1, and Jabari Small shoots through a hole on the right side for the first down.
6:21 remaining: Ball State races to 4th-1 from home territory…and fails. A QB sneak does not manage anything. Vols has the ball on the Ball State 34.
8:03 remaining: Quick practice for the Vols offense after the turnover on the downs, and that translates to a 33-yard field goal from Chase McGrath. Key plays were early pick-ups from Cedric Tillman and Jabari Small.
9h48 remaining: Ball State’s 12-game practice ends with a fourth pass out of bounds. Tennessee recovers the ball at 38.
2:37 p.m. remaining: One game later, Tennessee touchdown! Jalin Hyatt with a catch and a 23-yard run.
2:46 p.m. remaining: The Tennessee defense is already making plays. Tamarion McDonald lands a Ball State pass after a reverse chip flicker.
PRE-MATCH: The Vols pass through the T. Neyland Stadium which is filling up. It’s time to start the 2022 Tennessee Vols football season.
Contact Adam Sparks at [email protected] and on Twitter @AdamSparks.
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