University of Tennessee football fans should put the heartbreak of Saturday’s loss to Florida behind them. Sure, Tennessee let a lead slip in the second half. Yes, Tennessee suffered a defensive breakdown that helped the Gators pull away to win. But, overall, Tennessee is executing well offensively. The Tennessee Volunteers have shown a significant amount of improvement on the offensive side. Fans that take a look at Tennessee’s offensive numbers and rankings through its first three games may already be over the loss to the Florida Gators.
Currently, Tennessee (2-1) ranks third in the SEC in total offense. The Volunteers are averaging 474.0 yards per game. Tennessee is second in the conference in passing yardage with a 321.3 yards per game average. Only the Kentucky Wildcats (322.0 yards) rank ahead of the Volunteers. Rejuvenated Tennessee has scored 106 points in three games and that’s the third-highest total for the Volunteers in the first three games of a season since the 2001 campaign.
Tennessee junior quarterback Tyler Bray is closing in on the 1,000 yards passing mark. In three games, Bray has completed 67-of-105 passes for 900 yards and eight touchdowns. And he’s been able to aid in big plays. Bray’s long strike thus far covered 72 yards. The accurate Tennessee signal-caller has only thrown two interceptions. On the receiving end, four different Tennessee receivers have hauled in at least one touchdown reception.
Tennessee has netted 458 rushing yards in three games. Rajon Neal has emerged as the feature back for the Volunteers. Neal has took 58 carries for 205 yards and three touchdowns in three games.
The Volunteers have also shown the ability to turn in clutch performances early in the 2012 season. The Tennessee offense has hit paydirt on 13 of 15 opportunities in the red zone.
The Akron Zips (2-1) will visit Neyland Stadium on Saturday. In the lone meeting between the two schools, a game played in 1989, Tennessee thumped Akron 52-9. The productive Tennessee offense will look to extend the Volunteers’ consecutive non-conference win streak to nine games.
The Vols have handled MAC teams in the past. Tennessee is 4-0 vs. current Mid-American Conference teams.
No doubt, quick-strike Tennessee will look to score points early and often as it has done in each of its first three outings in the 2012 season. Defensively, Akron is giving up an average of 34.3 points per game.