The Big Ten may indeed be “back,” but it doesn’t mean the entire conference has bought into that current train of thought.
Case in point? Iowa, which is currently in the process of getting boot-stomped by Tennessee, trailing the young Vols 35-7 at halftime of the TaxSlayer Bowl. UT, playing in front of what’s essentially a home crowd in Jacksonville, has looked a step — or more — quicker than their Big Ten counterparts in every phase of the game ion setting a TaxSlayer Bowl record for points in a half.
The Vols jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead, outgaining the Hawkeyes 205-69. UT finished the half with 321 yards of offense; Iowa came into the game 18th in the country by allowing 334.6 yards per game.
Overall, UT scored on its first four possessions, with its first punt not coming until midway through the second quarter. The Vols then scored on the possession after that, its last of the half.
UT ran for 191 yards in the half, led by Jalen Hurd‘s 97 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. A running back also got in on the passing attack, with Marlin Lane throwing a 49-yard scoring toss on the back-end of a double-pass play.
Josh Dobbs, who has led the Vols to a 3-1 record since taking over as the starting quarterback, completed 11 of 12 of his pass attempts, throwing one touchdown pass at the end of the half that pushed the lead back out to 35-7. Dobbs also ran for a score.
Iowa’s lone drive into the red zone came late in the half, and even that was aided by UT mistakes. A holding penalty on the Vols negated an interception that would’ve given UT possession in Iowa territory. That drive was capped off by a Marc Weisman three-yard touchdown run that accounted for Iowa’s lone points of the half.
The Hawkeyes were held to just 153 first-half yards, with 61 of those yards coming on that final drive.