Tennessee opens its 2021 season tonight against Bowling Green, and GoVols247 is live at Neyland Stadium to provide updates of all the action before, during and after the game.
The Vols (0-0, 0-0 SEC) and Falcons (0-0, 0-0 MAC) are scheduled to kick off at approximately 8 p.m. Eastern in a game that will be broadcast by SEC Network.
Follow the thread below to get all the latest information from GoVols247’s Wes Rucker, Patrick Brown, Ryan Callahan and Grant Ramey in our official game-day thread on The CheckerBoard.
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Follow our live updates in the thread below.
6:15 p.m. Eastern: Tennessee officials confirmed to GoVols247 that junior edge defender Byron Young, sophomore wide receiver Jimmy Calloway and junior wide receiver Ramel Keyton would be unavailable tonight. Calloway and Keyton are out with minor injuries, but Young’s absence won’t be explained by coach Josh Heupel until after the game. A Tennessee official told GoVols247 that Young’s absence was not an injury, not a suspension, not a disciplinary issue and not related to the ongoing investigation into alleged NCAA improprieties during the Jeremy Pruitt era. The length of Young’s absence hasn’t been confirmed.
7 p.m. Eastern: Tennessee’s captains for the game are senior defensive lineman Matthew Butler, senior offensive lineman Cade Mays, senior defensive back Theo Jackson and senior punter Paxton Brooks. The Vols won the toss and deferred their choice to the second half.
10:25 — Tennessee touchdown: The Vols held bowling Green to three-and-out on the game’s first possession, and the offense wasted little time getting to the end zone. It took 12 plays but less than three minutes, and junior quarterback Joe Milton III called his own number for a 4-yard touchdown run open the scoring. Chase McGrath converted the PAT. VOLS 7, FALCONS 0.
6:52 — Touchdown touchdown: Another three-and-out for Bowling Green, and another effortless-looking Tennessee touchdown drive — this one going 67 yards and eight plays and taking just 2:01 off the clock. Sophomore running back Jabari Small capped this one with a 1-yard run, plowing into the end zone off left end. McGrath made the PAT. VOLS 14, FALCONS 0.
9:54 — Bowling Green field goal: A holding penalty on junior left tackle Darnell Wright forced Tennessee’s offense backward, and the Vols punted for the first time in the game. Bowling Green took the ball deep in its own half but drove 70 yards and got on the board with a 42-yard Nate Needham field goal to cap an 11-play, 70-yard drive. VOLS 14, FALCONS 3.
1:16 — Bowling Green field goal: Another Tennessee mistake — this one a Jalin Hyatt drop — stalled another drive and led to another punt, and Bowling Green again took time off the clock before kicking another field goal. Needham converted from 50 yards, capping an 11-play, 48-yard drive that took 7:16 off the clock. VOLS 14, FALCONS 6.
12:53 — Tennessee touchdown: Tennessee came out strong to open the second half, quickly marching downfield and getting back in the end zone on a 1-yard keeper from Milton. McGrath made the PAT. The Vols’ eight-play, 72-yard touchdown drive took just 1:58 off the clock. VOLS 21, FALCONS 6.
7:51 — Tennessee touchdown: Evans raced up the gut, made a nice move and finished a 19-yard touchdown run to give the Vols more separation. McGrath made the PAT to cap a five-play, 54-yard scoring drive that took just 1:18 off the clock. VOLS 28, FALCONS 6.
9:36 — Tennessee field goal: Tennessee reached the end zone, but a holding call on senior Jerome Carvin brought it back. Tennessee then got right near the end zone on the next snap, but another Carvin holding penalty brought it back. Then Hyatt dropped a ball between the 1s on his jersey near the end zone on the next snap. So the Vols settled for a 43-yard field goal from McGrath — the first field goal as a Vol for the USC transfer. Tennessee’s scoring drive went 41 yards in 14 plays and took 3:28 off the clock. VOLS 31, FALCONS 6.
5:11 — Tennessee touchdown: Milton had several options downfield on a second-and-8 play, and he threw to the only receiver who was blanketed. It didn’t matter. That receiver bailed him out. Junior Cedric Tillman jumped over a Bowling Green defensive back in the end zone for an impressive 40-yard touchdown to cap a six-play, 75-yard drive that took just 1:45 off the clock. McGrath converted the PAT. VOLS 38, FALCONS 6.
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