Although the alternate uniforms didn’t help earn Tennessee (3-3, 0-2) a win, the Volunteers looked much better last week against then No. 6 Georgia – in a football, not fashion sense. Tennessee wore “Smokey gray” uniforms in hopes of ending its history of frustration against ranked teams. It was the first time the Vols used alternate uniforms since wearing black jerseys in a 31-13 victory over No. 21 South Carolina on Halloween 2009, their last win over a top-25 team.
Ultimately, Tennessee fell to the Bulldogs 34-31 in OT, but this team showed signs of massive improvement one week after narrowly avoiding what would have been one of the worst losses in program history.
Offensively, the Volunteers have found two solid playmakers in running back Rajion Neal and wide receiver Alton “Pig” Howard. Neal, who rushed for 148 yards and two scores against the Bulldogs, has now gained more than 140 rushing yards in three of Tennessee’s six games. Howard nearly put the Vols ahead on the first overtime possession, but his seven-yard TD run was ruled a fumble for a touchback following a replay review. Still, the sophomore caught four balls for 70 yards and added 46 more on the ground against Georgia.
Quarterback Justin Worley has also showed some flashes of potential in recent weeks. He had what is easily is best game of the year against the Bulldogs, completing 17-of-31 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown.
What to look for in Week 7: Tennessee has the week off, and the Vols’ top priority should be maintaining the offensive momentum they gained against Georgia. The defense is still a work in progress, so Butch Jones and company will need the offense to carry the load moving forward. With South Carolina and Alabama up next, staying in rhythm offensively is more important than ever.