Tennessee rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to dominate the second quarter and take a 24-14 lead opposite Virginia Tech to the half at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The Vols’ first three possessions went three-and-out, three-and-out, and four-and-out and, while its offense couldn’t stay on the field, its defense couldn’t stay off of it. Virginia Tech moved 59 yards in 13 plays before a missed field goal on its first possession, then mounted touchdown drives of 62 and 77 yards to take a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
But, after forcing its third punt in as many tries, Virginia Tech botched a shotgun handoff at its own 15-yard line, which Tennessee eventually recovered at the 5. Josh Dobbs hit Jajuan Jennings for a touchdown pass one play later.
Virginia Tech punted on its next possession and Tennessee responded by racing 90 yards in four plays — chiefly on a 40-yard Dobbs run and a 38-yard heave to Josh Malone to tie the game at the 9:42 mark of the second quarter.
After a short field goal drive, Tennessee closed its tour de force second quarter by moving 58 yards in nine plays, leading to a five-yard Dobbs scoring run. Dobbs closed the half by completing 5-of-8 passes for a wildly efficient 49 yards and two touchdowns, plus six carries for 48 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Hurd added 12 carries for 66 yards.
For Virginia Tech, Jerod Evans has completed 10-of-15 throws for 97 yards and a score and Travon McMillan has rushed 10 times for 105 yards and a 69-yard touchdown dash.
Tennessee will receive to open the second half.