NCAA FB

Sat, Sep 3, 2011 - 6:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Tennessee 42, Montana 16

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP)

Tyler Bray threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns as Tennessee beat Montana 42-16 in the season opener for both teams on Saturday night.

Justin Hunter grabbed six receptions for 146 yards, and Da'Rick Rogers had 100 yards on five catches to become the Volunteers' first pair to each have more than 100 yards receiving in a single game since 2007. Both players had a touchdown catch.

The Vols got a fast start after a kickoff delayed over an hour and a half for lightning.

Tennessee lost yards on its first drive after Caleb McSurdy sacked Tyler Bray for a loss of 10 yards on third down. Montana's Peter Nguyen fumbled the subsequent punt, and Bray connected with Da'Rick Rogers on a flea-flicker play for a 47-yard touchdown pass on the next play to put the Vols up 7-0 with 12:47 to go in the first quarter.

On the third-and-7 at the Vols 19 on the following drive, Bray hit Hunter around midfield, and Hunter outran defenders the rest of the way for the 81-yard touchdown play.

Bray finished 17-of-24 with no interceptions. The touchdown pass to Rogers marked his seventh consecutive game with two or more TDs, tying a record set by Peyton Manning during his senior season in 1997.

The Grizzlies got their lone score in the first half when Jordan Johnson connected with Jabin Sambrano on an 80-yard pass play, burning Tennessee true freshman Justin Coleman on the route. The score cut the Vols' lead to 28-7 with 3:49 left in the second quarter, but the Grizzlies couldn't sustain the momentum and went three-and-out on the following drive, their last of the half.

The touchdown play was Sambrano's only catch of the night, but the 80 yards led Montana's receivers.

The Grizzlies pinned a punt by their own Sean Winn at the Tennessee 1 yard line, and Ben Hughes downed Tauren Poole in the end zone for a safety that cut Tennessee's margin to 28-9 with 12:45 in the third quarter. It was as close as Montana would get as Art Evans picked off Johnson two plays later and returned the ball 37 yards for a touchdown that put the Vols up 35-9.

Johnson finished 19-of-36 for 226 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Nguyen had 67 yards rushing on nine carries and Jordan Canada scored on a 7-yard run with 6:04 left in the game.

Tennessee held the ball nearly twice as long as Montana in the first half and outgained the Grizzlies 302 yards to 140. The Vols took control of the game thanks to a few long possessions, including a 96-yard drive that culminated in a 9-yard touchdown pass from Bray to Marlin Lane.

They had their share of mistakes beyond the safety, though none proved to be too costly. They fumbled the wet ball six times in the first half but managed to recover each time.

Bray was sacked three times for a loss of 21 yards, and the offensive line struggled at times to open up holes for the running game. Tauren Poole, who ran for 1,034 yards in 2010, still managed to pick up 98 yards on 24 carries.

Tagged: Tennessee, Art Evans, Tauren Poole, Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter, Da'Rick Rogers, Jordan Johnson

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