Tennessee football stock report: John Kelly stars in Vols’ shocking comeback

ATLANTA — Tennessee football’s 42-41 double-overtime win over Georgia Tech was one for the ages Monday night.

Vols’ defensive end Darrell Taylor drilled Yellow Jackets quarterback TaQuon Marshall, forcing a rushed incomplete pass and denying Georgia Tech’s 2-point conversion attempt on the final play.

The No. 25-ranked Vols were on national stage when they took down the Yellow Jackets before the Mercedes-Benz Stadium crowd of 75,107.

Georgia Tech out-gained Tennessee 655-369, but the Vols’ special teams were superior, and UT forced two turnovers while not committing any.

The Yellow Jackets controlled the ball most of the night, holding the ball for 41 minutes, 27 seconds in regulation to the Vols’ 18:33.

Marshall was fantastic for Georgia Tech, setting a school record with five rushing touchdowns and gaining 249 yards on 44 carries.

Tennessee rallied from being down 21-7 and 28-14, forcing overtime on a blocked field goal on the final play of regulation.


Sophomore receiver Marquez Callaway provided a spark in the second half, making a leaping 10-yard TD catch in the end zone, and following that up with a 50-yard, catch-and-run TD reception in the fourth quarter. Callaway’s 40-yard grab set up Tennessee’s tying score later in the quarter. Callaway was all the rage in spring drills, but an inconsistent fall camp cost him a start Monday night.

John Kelly was expected to be the Vols’ main offensive weapon, and that was the case on Monday night. Kelly scored four touchdowns for Tennessee. ’s first touchdown of the night on a 1-yard dive, four plays after he broke off a 22-yard scamper, and then came up with the game-tying TD run in the fourth quarter. Kelly finished with 15 carries for 106 yards and five  catches for 35 yards.

Sophomore linebacker Daniel Bituli made the most of his first start, finishing with 23 tackles. Bituli appeared in nine games as a true freshman and made nine tackles.

Redshirt junior reserve defensive tackle  Paul Bain, from nearby Powder Springs, Ga., came up with a blocked field goal at the end of regulation. Georgia Tech’s Shawn Davis was attempting a 37-yard field goal that would have won the game at the time.


Evan Berry entered the season as one of the nation’s most dangerous return men, and it was clear that nothing has changed. Berry had a 35-yard kick return to open the game, and then the Atlanta product ran one back 51 yards to the Georgia Tech 45-yard line on the final play of the first quarter.

Senior punter Trevor Daniel got more work than he wanted, but he was one of the bright spots, averaging 47.0 yards on six punts, including a 70-yard punt in the first half.


Junior receiver Jauan Jennings had three caches for 17 yards in the first half before leaving the game with a left arm injury. Jennings was targeted six times, dropping two passes.

Tennessee’s defensive line had a tough assignment against the Georgia Tech offensive line, and the statistics reflected that. The Yellow Jackets had 535 yards rushing in regulation, and 605 total yards. Taylor saved the night with his penetration and hit, but there is work to be done.

Tennessee’s offensive line struggled to get a consistent push most of the night. Freshman guard Trey Smith and senior Jashon Robertson were the players the Vols’ ran behind, as others had trouble winning their battles in the trenches.

Vols sophomore Nigel Warrior had 12 tackles, but it was a rough night at safety for him. Warrior got caught out of position on a 44-yard pass play in the first half, and missing a tackle on what ended up being a 27-yard run.

The post Tennessee football stock report: John Kelly stars in Vols’ shocking comeback appeared first on SEC Country.

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