Massacre in Knoxville
Tennessee Throttles Bulls
Published: Sunday, October 2, 2011
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
The Buffalo Bulls never want to hear "Rocky Top" again.
The fight song was played frequently and the touchdowns came easily for Tennessee on Saturday afternoon, as the Volunteers (3-1, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) easily dispatched of the overwhelmed Bulls (1-4, 0-1 Mid-American Conference) by a score of 41-10.
The Bulls said all the right things, they prepared meticulously, and they even made it look like they could compete with a top-tier SEC school. There was one problem: the Volunteers were just better.
A massive crowd of 87,758 watched as the Volunteers quarterback Tyler Bray led a methodical Tennessee offense to a complete demolition of the Buffalo ‘D.'
The Vols put up 31 points, Bray tossed for 248 yards and three touchdowns, and Tennessee rushed for 122 yards.
And that was just in the first half.
Bray finished with 342 yards and four touchdowns on 21-30 passing; the Vols finished with 531 yards.
"[Bray] picked us apart," said freshman cornerback Courtney Lester. "He made all the right reads. Some of the plays, me and [senior safety] Josh Copeland would call them out, and he would just go to his second read."
Bray was the difference in the game. The Buffalo defense couldn't slow him down, and the offense didn't provide any assistance. Tennessee had the ball for 10 minutes more than Buffalo, as the Bulls' offense couldn't get going whatsoever.
"[Tennessee] is a great program and they have a January tradition, and we wanted an opportunity to see where our football program was; that's why we scheduled this game," said head coach Jeff Quinn. "We know these are tough games, but I felt there were times that our kids went blow for blow. These kids are going to take this experience back with them and grow and learn from it. They're going to see themselves having success against a very good football team at times. Difference is, we have to do it collectively, each and every play, four quarters."
Early in the game, Tennessee running back Devrin Young returned a punt (after Buffalo went three-and-out on its first drive) for 43 yards on the first touch of his college career. That return set up the game's opening score, as Volunteers receiver Rajion Neal took a reverse 20 yards to pay dirt.
The Bulls stalled on their next drive, and Bray tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers on the ensuing possession.
The score was only 14-0, but the game appeared to be over with 3:53 left in the opening quarter.
Then senior quarterback Chazz Anderson gave the Bulls some hope when he took off for a 68-yard touchdown run.
Sophomore running back Branden Oliver said the play call was a zone read, so Anderson could have handed it to Oliver or taken it himself on a naked bootleg. Anderson made the right call by holding onto the ball, and there was nothing but open field in front of him.
"I knew he was that fast," Oliver said.
The Bulls recovered the following kickoff, but their drive didn't go anywhere, and senior kicker Peter Fardon missed badly on a 44-yard field goal attempt.
Tennessee went into the locker room with momentum and a 31-7 advantage as an 11- play, 72-yard drive that took up 4:45 was capped by a 13-yard pass from Bray to Volunteers receiver DeAnthony Arnett.
Perhaps the game's scariest moment came when Anderson went down with a knee injury on the second to last play of the first quarter. Sophomore quarterback Alex Zordich stepped in, but Anderson returned to action two possessions later.
Tennessee just wouldn't slow down, as the quickness of the Vols made it look like the Bulls were moving in slow motion.
"We weren't surprised at all [at Tennessee's speed]," Lester said. "When you go back to the film, there were just a lot of fundamental errors that we had. It just goes back to fundamentals."