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(Saturday, September 22)
Final Score: Tennessee 47, Akron 26
Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) - Tyler Bray proved once again that he is one of the elite quarterbacks in the nation, leading his Tennessee Volunteers to a 47-26 win over the Akron Zips at Neyland Stadium.
Bray shook off an early interception to throw for 401 yards and four touchdowns on 27-of-43 passing. Rajion Neal aided Bray with a career high 151 rushing yards on 22 carries, and Justin Hunter caught eight passes for 115 yards and a score. Tennessee (3-1) tallied 633 yards of total offense and picked up 33 first downs, both season highs.
Zips (1-3) quarterback Dalton Williams had a night to forget, throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns. He had never before thrown more than one interception in a game. He also racked up 229 yards on 27-of-49 passing. Quentin Hines recorded 76 rushing yards and a touchdown on just six carries.
Akron got on the board less than a minute into the game when Florida State transfer Avis Commack picked off Bray on just his second pass attempt and took it 44 yards for the score. Tennessee bounced right back with a 13-play drive, capped off by an A.J. Johnson two-yard touchdown run, to make it 7-7.
A pair of field goals both by Derrick Brodus and Robert Stein made it 13-13 early in the second quarter. The kickers each connected on all four of their field goal attempts in the game.
The Volunteers found the end zone for the second time when Bray hit Brendan Downs from six yards out the 8:12 mark of the second quarter to go up, 20-13. The touchdown was set up by a 48-yard completion to Zach Rogers on 3rd-and-9.
Akron fought back to take the lead late in the half. Stein drilled his third field goal of the half at the 5:16 mark. Just minutes later, Hines' first carry of the game went for 70 yards and a score. Brodus kicked a late field goal, and the score was knotted at 23-23 at the half.
Tennessee blew the game open in the second half. They opened the scoring when Bray found Neal from three yards out midway through the third quarter. The touchdown capped an eight-play, 84-yard drive. which included a 25-yard completion on third down to Hunter. After Stein and Brodus once again traded field goals, Bray threw his third and fourth touchdowns of the game, with Hunter and Jacob Carter the recipients.
The Zips offense, which was efficient in the first half, failed to get anything going in the second. All but one of their second half possessions ended in a turnover or punt.
Tennessee improved to 2-0 all-time against Akron.
09/23 00:33:56 ET