In front of an announced crowd of 63,016 filling Neyland Stadium’s lower bowl, Cam Sutton and the defensive “Orange Swarm” pulled ahead in the second half, edging the offense 54-44 in Butch Jone’s third annual Orange and White Game.
With steak fillets awaiting the winners and pecan sandies for the losers, Sutton disrupted a double-reverse late in the first half, catching the ball off a deflection from wide receiver Alton “Pig” Howard, taking it 20 yards for an Orange team score.
Joshua Dobbs led the White team (offense) in the opening drive alongside junior college transfer Alvin Kamara in the backfield. The former Alabama commit displayed glimpses of an experienced tailback on the second play from scrimmage scampering 11-yards for a first down, receiving his first taste of the checkerboard endzone six plays later with a two-yard punch in.
Dobbs finished five of eight passing with 94 yards including a 15-yard touchdown strike to Ethan Wolf.
Early-enrollee quarterbacks Quinten Dormady and Jauan Jennings performed admirably Saturday, each showing a unique skill-set testing the Tennessee defense.
Dormady unveiled his arm finishing five of 11 with 96 yards passing, including a beautiful ball down the boundary to Josh Malone, taking the over-the-shoulder catch in stride, 65 yards for a touchdown.
Jennings was the lone quarterback made “live” by Jones every series, allowing the defensive player to finish the tackle, creating game-like repetitions for the young athlete. The mid-state product eluded several rushers and flew by the second-string defense for a 45-yard touchdown run to end the first half.
White led Orange 41-31 after the first 30 minutes of play.
Feeding off the momentum of Sutton’s fumble recovery for a score, the Orange team was solid in the second half. Evan Berry led all tacklers with nine and Jalen Reeves-Maybin added two sacks in his newly acquired #21 jersey.
The day leading up to the Orange and White Game started early for the team as Vol fans flooded Shields-Watkins Field for autographs from Tennessee coaches and players. Coach Jones mentioned in the weeks leading up that this would be more of a “Spring event” rather than a game.
Once pads were on and cleats were laced, five drills were scattered throughout the day beginning with the “Circle of Life”, a one-on-one drill requiring leverage and body position to win. The four other drills mixed into the event were: WRs vs. DBs, QB Challenge, OL vs. DL and Tennespeed.
A specialized scoring system developed by coach Jones and his staff hardly resembled any regular football scoring, but created an attentive atmosphere for fans to follow the back and forth action. The first and second quarters were 15 minutes a piece, yet the clock ran for the entirety of the quarter. The third and fourth quarters ran as well, but were only 12 minutes long.
The shortened 11 on 11 periods were an indication of the 15 players who were forced to miss Saturday’s Spring event due to injury. No names were added to that list following the event, one of the most important stats of any Orange and White Game.