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2015 Tennessee Volunteers football team

The 2015 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 2015 season. This was the 119th overall season, 82nd as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and its 24th within the SEC Eastern Division. The team was coached by Butch Jones, in his third season with UT, and plays their home games at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. This season was also the debut season of Mike DeBord as UT's offensive coordinator.

2015 Tennessee Volunteers football
Tennessee Volunteers logo.svg
Outback Bowl champion
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
DivisionEastern Division
Ranking
CoachesNo. 23
APNo. 22
2015 record9–4 (5–3 SEC)
Head coachButch Jones (3rd season)
Offensive coordinatorMike DeBord (1st season)
Offensive schemeMultiple
Defensive coordinatorJohn Jancek (3rd season)
Base defense4–3
Home stadiumNeyland Stadium
(Capacity: 102,455)
Seasons
← 2014
2016 →
2015 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No. 25 Florida x   7 1         10 4  
No. 22 Tennessee   5 3         9 4  
Georgia   5 3         10 3  
Vanderbilt   2 6         4 8  
Kentucky   2 6         5 7  
Missouri   1 7         5 7  
South Carolina   1 7         3 9  
West Division
No. 1 Alabama x$#^   7 1         14 1  
No. 10 Ole Miss   6 2         10 3  
Arkansas   5 3         8 5  
No. 16 LSU   5 3         9 3  
Texas A&M   4 4         8 5  
Mississippi State   4 4         9 4  
Auburn   2 6         7 6  
Championship: Alabama 29, Florida 15
    1. – College Football Playoff champion
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

The Vols finished the regular season at 8–4, 5–3 in the SEC, making them bowl-eligible for a second consecutive season. On December 6, 2015, it was announced that the Vols would face the Northwestern Wildcats (10–2) in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida, on January 1, 2016.[1] Tennessee defeated the Wildcats 45–6, finishing the season at 9–4.[2]

Previous seasonEdit

The 2014 Tennessee Volunteers football team finished the regular season 6–6, with a highlight win against Vanderbilt, which enabled the Vols to become bowl-eligible for the first time since the 2010 season. The Vols were invited to play in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big Ten Conference. Tennessee defeated the Hawkeyes in Jacksonville, Florida 45–28, finishing their 2014 season at 7–6. It was their first winning season since 2009, and the first bowl win since 2007.[3]

OffseasonEdit

Spring practiceEdit

The Tennessee Volunteers opened up Spring Practice on March 21.[4] Much like in 2014, Joshua Dobbs entered spring practice having finished the season as the starting quarterback due to injuries to Justin Worley. With Worley having graduated, however, Dobbs is now the clear frontrunner for the starting quarterback role.[4] The coaches noted that he was being more consistent and efficient with signal calling and ball throwing. "The thing I liked about Josh today is that I thought he made the routine plays", Butch Jones told the VolQuest.com crew after UT's first day in pads Saturday. "He made the routine throws."[4] Coleman Thomas, who was a starting offensive tackle, was suspended from the team activities in the wake of legal issues.[4] Starting cornerback Emmanuel Moseley missed part of spring practice after contracting mono.[4] Numerous players, including Derek Barnett, Marcus Jackson, Danny O'Brien, Jason Croom, Curt Maggitt, Jakob Johnson, Alex Ellis and early enrollees Kyle Phillips and Darrin Kirkland, missed the entire spring due to injuries. Others, including Jalen Hurd, Marquez North and Dillon Bates, were limited by injuries.[5]

Post-spring practiceEdit

On May 21, 2015, following UT's Big Orange Caravan stop at Nissan Stadium, Coach Jones stated "We just can't be a year older. We have to be a year better, and that's part of that growth and that development." He added, "We'll still be exceptionally young in the defensive front. We're going to rely on two true freshman defensive tackles (Kahlil McKenzie and Shy Tuttle) to really play a big part in this year's outcome of many games, so we have to get them ready to go. But our older players have done a great job of mentoring the young players coming in. On the offensive front, we had some individuals who gained some valuable experience. You could see that kind of manifesting itself throughout the course of spring. You could see that confidence. You could see a change in strength levels. You could see a change in maturity, and also just in football knowledge."[6]

Fall practiceEdit

The Vols began fall practice on August 4, 2015. Primary concerns involved the return of numerous players from injury, the improvement of the offensive line, finding starters at middle linebacker (to replace A.J. Johnson), left tackle (to replace Jacob Gilliam), and punter (to replace Matt Darr), and determining a backup quarterback.[7][8] Prior to the beginning of fall practice, freshman quarterback Jauan Jennings announced he was switching to wide receiver, leaving freshman early enrollee Quinten Dormady and summer enrollee Sheriron Jones to compete for the backup quarterback slot. In mid-August, Butch Jones designated Dormady as the backup.[9] Six players competed for the starting slot at middle linebacker: junior Kenny Bynum, sophomore Jakob Johnson, sophomore Gavin Bryant, sophomore walk-on Colton Jumper, redshirt freshman Dillon Bates, and freshman Darrin Kirkland,[10] though Johnson eventually switched to tight end. In late August, Jones stated the competition was down to Kirkland and Jumper.[11] Nate Renfro (a graduate transfer from Maryland), sophomore walk-on Trevor Daniel, and freshman Tommy Townsend were competing for the starting slot at punter.[12]

Injuries continued to be a factor during fall practice. Senior offensive guard Marcus Jackson (a returning starter), junior offensive guard Austin Sanders, and sophomore defensive back Rashaan Gaulden (the projected starter at nickelback) all suffered season-ending injuries.[13] Junior wide receivers Marquez North and Jason Croom, sophomore guard Jashon Robertson, and junior college transfer Justin Martin were among the players who missed portions of fall practice due to injuries.[14]

Alton "Pig" Howard, leading wide-receiver from the 2014 season, was suspended for the first game of the season for unspecified violation of team rules.[15] During his daily media availability on August 27, Coach Jones said that it wasn't "something that just occurred" and that it's "something that dates back many months."[15] "To Alton's credit, I like the way he's approached training camp", he added. "He's had the best training camp that he's had since we've been here. I'm appreciative of his efforts, but he will miss the Bowling Green game."[15] Coach Jones also announced that strong safety LaDarrell McNeil would miss extended time due to a neck injury.[16] After his media session, Coach Jones took to Twitter to "officially" welcome Preston Williams – who was flagged by the NCAA Clearinghouse to retake the ACT Test – to the team.[17][18]

PersonnelEdit

Roster & staffEdit

2015 Tennessee Volunteers football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
RB 1 Jalen Hurd So
WR 3 Josh Malone So
RB 4 John Kelly Fr
RB 5 Ralph David Abernathy IV   Sr
RB 6 Alvin Kamara   So
WR 7 Preston Williams Fr
WR 8 Marquez North   Jr
WR 9 Von Pearson Sr
WR 10 Vincent Perry   Fr
QB 11 Joshua Dobbs Jr
QB 12 Quinten Dormady Fr
QB 13 Sheriron Jones Fr
QB 14 Zac Jancek Fr
WR 15 Jauan Jennings Fr
WR 18 Jason Croom     Jr
RB 21 Joe Young Fr
WR 24 Michael Lacey Fr
WR 25 Josh Smith   So
WR 28 Will Martinez So
RB 37 Jayson Sparks   So
WR 38 Jaye Rochell   Jr
TE 44 Jakob Johnson So
TE 47 Joe Stocstill   Jr
TE 48 Alex Ellis   Sr
OL 50 Venzell Boulware Fr
OL 51 Drew Richmond Fr
OL 55 Coleman Thomas So
OL 57 Mack Crowder   Sr
OL 58 Aaron Adams   So
OL 60 Austin Sanders     So
OL 63 Brett Kendrick   So
OL 64 Ray Raulerson   Fr
OL 65 Clay Keaton Fr
OL 66 Jack Jones Fr
OL 67 Joe Keeler Fr
OL 69 Jonathan Reynolds   So
OL 71 Dylan Wiesman Jr
OL 74 Dontavius Blair   Jr
OL 75 Jashon Robertson   So
OL 75 Marcus Jackson     Sr
OL 76 Chance Hall Fr
OL 77 Kyler Kerbyson   Sr
OL 78 Charles Mosley   Fr
OL 79 Thomas Edwards   So
TE 80 Eli Wolf Fr
WR 81 Johnathon Johnson Sr
TE 82 Ethan Wolf So
WR 83 Cody Blanc   Jr
WR 84 Adrian Gamble   Jr
WR 87 Logan Fetzner   So
TE 88 Neiko Creamer   Fr
TE 89 Will Jumper Fr
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
DL 1 Kahlil McKenzie Fr
DL 2 Shy Tuttle   Fr
DB 3 Micah Abernathy Fr
DL 4 LaTroy Lewis   Jr
DL 5 Kyle Phillips   Fr
DB 6 Todd Kelly Jr. So
DB 7 Cameron Sutton Jr
DB 7 Rashaan Gaulden   So
DB 8 Justin Martin So
DE 9 Derek Barnett So
LB 11 Austin Smith Fr
DB 12 Emmanuel Moseley So
DB 13 Malik Foreman Jr
LB 14 Quart'e Sapp Fr
LB 17 Dillon Bates   Fr
DL 19 Darrell Taylor Fr
LB 20 Cortez McDowell So
LB 21 Jalen Reeves-Maybin Jr
DB 24 Darrell Miller Fr
DB 26 Stephen Griffin Fr
DB 28 David Priddy   Jr
DB 29 Evan Berry So
DB 30 Devin Williams   Jr
DB 33 LaDarrell McNeil Sr
LB 34 Darrin Kirkland Jr Fr
DB 35 MaLeik Gatewood Fr
LB 36 Gavin Bryant   Fr
DB 37 Brian Randolph   Sr
DL 39 Kendal Vickers   So
DL 40 Dimarya Mixon So
LB 41 Elliott Berry So
LB 42 Chris Weatherd Sr
DB 46 Max Arnold   Sr
LB 47 Landon Knoll Fr
LB 48 DaJour Maddox Fr
DE 50 Corey Vereen Jr
LB 51 Kenny Bynum   Jr
DL 52 Andrew Butcher   Fr
LB 53 Colton Jumper So
DL 55 Quay Picou Fr
LB/DL 56 Curt Maggitt     Sr
DL 58 Owen Williams   Sr
DL 90 Charles Folger   Jr
DL 94 Tyler Stokes   Fr
DL 95 Danny O'Brien   Jr
DL 96 Trevarris Saulsberry   Sr
DL 97 Paul Bain   Fr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
H 10 Patrick Ashford   Sr
PK 25 Aaron Medley So
P 27 Tommy Townsend Fr
PK 30 Holden Foster Jr
P 31 Nate Renfroe   Sr
PK 39 Alex Jones Fr
PK 43 Laszlo Toser Fr
LS 46 Riley Lovingood Fr
LS 52 Elijah Medford   Fr
LS 53 Will Bradshaw   So
LS 59 Matt Giampapa   Sr
P 93 Trevor Daniel   So
PK 97 George Bullock   Jr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches
  • Mike DeBord (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach) – 1st year
  • John Jancek (defensive coordinator) – 3rd year
  • Willie Martinez (assistant head coach/defensive backs coach) – 3rd year
  • Steve Stripling (associate head coach/defensive line coach) – 3rd year
  • Zach Azzanni (wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator) – 3rd year
  • Mark Elder (tight ends coach/special teams coordinator) – 3rd year
  • Robert Gillespie (running backs coach) – 3rd year
  • Tommy Thigpen (linebackers coach) – 3rd year
  • Dave Lawson (director of strength and conditioning) – 3rd year

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  •   Injured
  •   Redshirt

Roster
Last update: November 4, 2015

2015 recruiting classEdit

Tennessee's 2015 recruiting class is ranked the third-best overall 2015 class by 247Sports.com,[19] fourth-best by Rivals.com,[20] and fifth-best by Scout.com.[21]

Depth chartEdit

ScheduleEdit

Tennessee announced their 2015 football schedule on October 14, 2014. The 2015 schedule consists of seven home games, four away games, and one neutral site game in the regular season. The Vols will host SEC foes Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, and will travel to Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, and Missouri.[24]

Tennessee opened the season at a neutral site for the first time since 2012 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, against Bowling Green. The Vols then hosted Oklahoma for the second game of the home series. Western Carolina then traveled to Neyland Stadium for the first meeting between the two schools. To end the non–conference match ups, North Texas will make a trip to Knoxville for the second meeting of the two schools. North Texas defeated the Vols in their first meeting in 1975, 21–14. The Arkansas–Tennessee match up will be the first time since they play against each other since 2011. The Kentucky–Tennessee match up will be played in October (on Halloween) for the first time since 1909.

Tennessee had originally scheduled UAB as its 2015 season opener. On December 2, 2014, however, UAB announced they were shutting down their football program at the end of the 2014–15 academic year.[25] (UAB announced in June 2015 that it would be bringing back the program for a 2017 debut.)[26] The shutdown led Tennessee to find a new team to open against at Nissan Stadium. A week later the Vols announced that Bowling Green will replace UAB in the opener of the 2015 season, for the first meeting between the two schools.[27]

DateTimeOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendance
September 54:00 p.m.vs. Bowling Green*No. 25SECNW 59–3061,323
September 126:00 p.m.No. 19 Oklahoma*No. 23ESPNL 24–31 2OT102,455
September 197:00 p.m.Western Carolina*
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, TN
ESPNUW 55–10102,136
September 263:30 p.m.at FloridaCBSL 27–2890,527
October 37:00 p.m.Arkansas
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, TN
ESPN2L 20–24101,265
October 103:30 p.mNo. 19 Georgia
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, TN (rivalry)
CBSW 38–31102,455
October 243:30 p.mat No. 8 AlabamaCBSL 14–19101,821
October 317:30 p.m.at KentuckySECNW 52–2160,886
November 74:00 p.m.South Carolina
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, TN
SECNW 27–24101,253
November 14NoonNorth Texas* 
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, TN
SECNW 24–096,197
November 217:15 p.m.at MissouriESPN2W 19–859,575
November 284:00 p.m.Vanderbilt
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, TN (rivalry)
SECNW 53–2898,327
January 112:00 p.m.vs. No. 12 Northwestern*ESPN2W 45–653,202
  • *Non-conference game
  •  Homecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game
  • All times are in Eastern time
Schedule Source:[28]

Game summariesEdit

Bowling GreenEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
First Meeting
Bowling Green Falcons vs #25 Tennessee Volunteers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Bowling Green 10 10 10030
#25 Tennessee 21 14 141059

at Nissan StadiumNashville, Tennessee

  • Date: September 5, 2015
  • Game time: 4:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: Temperature: 89 °F (32 °C) • Wind: 9 mph (14 km/h) • Weather: partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 61,323
  • Referee: Ken Williamson • Umpire: Wally Hough • Linesman: Lane Thomas • Line judge: Mickey Bryson • Back judge: Grantis Bell • Field judge: Jamie Grant • Side judge: Rob Skelton • Center judge: Martin Hankins
  • TV announcers (SECN): Tom Hart (play–by–play), Andre Ware (color), Laura Rutledge (sideline)
  • [29]
Game information

The 2015 Tennessee Volunteers, ranked 25th in the nation, kicked off its first game of the season against the Bowling Green Falcons at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. Jalen Hurd had three first-half touchdown runs, Alvin Kamara ran for two more scores, and Tennessee went on to win 59–30 in a game delayed 80 minutes in the second half by lightning.[30]

#19 OklahomaEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
1–2 2014 Oklahoma, 34–10
#19 Oklahoma Sooners vs #23 Tennessee Volunteers – Game summary
1 2 34OT2OTTotal
#19 Oklahoma 0 3 0147731
#23 Tennessee 10 7 007024

at Neyland StadiumKnoxville, Tennessee

  • Date: September 12, 2015
  • Game time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: Temperature: 72 °F (22 °C) • Wind: 8 mph (13 km/h) • Weather: partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 102,455
  • Referee: Mike Defee • Umpire: Robert Richeson • Linesman: Al Green • Line judge: Quentin Givens • Back judge: Terry Jones • Field judge: Joe Blubaugh • Side judge: Lo van Pham • Center judge: Mike Cuttone
  • TV announcers (ESPN): Brad Nessler (play–by–play), Todd Blackledge (color), Holly Rowe (sideline)
  • [31]
Game information

The 19th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners played the 23rd-ranked Volunteers for the fourth time in history, the first in Knoxville. The Volunteers led 17–3 into the fourth quarter, but the Sooners came back to force the game into two overtime periods and win 31–24.[32] The game's live broadcast on ESPN was watched by 4.12 million viewers, making it the most-watched cable program of the day.[33]

Western CarolinaEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
First Meeting
Western Carolina Catamounts vs Tennessee Volunteers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Western Carolina 0 3 0710
Tennessee 10 31 14055

at Neyland StadiumKnoxville, Tennessee

  • Date: September 19, 2015
  • Game time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: Temperature: 81 °F (27 °C) • Wind: 3 mph (4.8 km/h) • Weather: partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 102,136
  • Referee: Hubert Owens • Umpire: Russ Pulley • Linesman: Chad Green • Line judge: Chuck Rice • Back judge: Michael Watson • Field judge: Greg Thomas • Side judge: Chad Hill • Center judge: Walt Hill
  • TV announcers (ESPNU): Allen Bestwick (play-by-play), Dan Hawkins (color)
  • [34]
Game information

In Knoxville, the Volunteers faced the Western Carolina Catamounts for the first time ever and won 55–10. Alvin Kamara became the first Tennessee player in 40 years to score on a punt return (50 yards) and a run from scrimmage in the same game. Coupling Kamara's return with Evan Berry's 88-yard kickoff return, prior to the end of the first half, also marked a first for special teams scoring since a 1950 victory over Washington and Lee.[35]

Regarding heading into the game following the loss to Oklahoma, Coach Butch Jones commented "It was a big game for us to see how we would respond." He added "I thought our competitive character was challenged a little bit in how we prepared this week and how we'd come out in our approach to this game."[35]

FloridaEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
19–25 2014 Florida, 10–9
Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Tennessee 7 10 3727
Florida 7 0 71428

at Ben Hill Griffin StadiumGainesville, Florida

  • Date: September 26, 2015
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m.
  • Game weather: Temperature: 87 °F (31 °C) • Wind: 5 mph (8.0 km/h) • Weather: Sunny
  • Game attendance: 90,527
  • Referee: David Smith • Umpire: Jeff Roberson • Linesman: G A Gus Morris • Line judge: Paul Petrisko • Back judge: Roy A Potts • Field judge: Andy Britton • Side judge: Michael William • Center judge: Chad Lorance
  • TV announcers (CBS): Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (color) and Allie LaForce (sideline)
  • [36]
Game information

The Volunteers went to "The Swamp" to play one of their rivalries, the Florida Gators. Florida won the game, 28–27, extending its win streak over Tennessee to 11 games. Volunteers kicker Aaron Medley had a chance to win the game with a 55-yard field goal, but his attempt missed by a foot to the right.[37]

ArkansasEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
13–4 2011 Arkansas, 49–7
Arkansas Razorbacks at Tennessee Volunteers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Arkansas 7 10 7024
Tennessee 14 3 3020

at Neyland StadiumKnoxville, Tennessee

  • Date: October 3, 2015
  • Game time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: Temperature: 62 °F (17 °C) • Wind: 7 mph (11 km/h) • Weather: showers
  • Game attendance: 101,265
  • Referee: Marc Curles • Umpire: Tom Quick • Linesman: John Langlois • Line judge: Kirk Lewis • Back judge: Scott Vaughan • Field judge: Wes Booker • Side judge: Richard Booker • Center judge: Wayne Winkler
  • TV announcers (ESPN2): Mark Jones (play-by-play), Rod Gilmore (color) and Quint Kessenich (sideline)
  • [38]
Game information

The Volunteers hosted the Arkansas Razorbacks and hoped to extend their home record to 7–1 against the "Hogs". Tennessee began with an early lead with Evan Berry's 96-yard opening kickoff return and Joshua Dobbs's 7-yard run on the following drive. However, Arkansas tied the game at 17 before halftime and would score the game's only remaining touchdown in the third quarter to go on to win 24–20.[39]

Following the Volunteers' third loss in four games, and blowing a two-touchdown lead in each of those defeats, Coach Butch Jones stated "Our competitive character is being tested. Our fortitude is being tested. All you can do is keep working – and work your way through it."[39]

#19 GeorgiaEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
21–21–2 2014 Georgia, 35–32
#19 Georgia Bulldogs at Tennessee Volunteers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
#19 Georgia 7 17 0731
Tennessee 3 14 14738

at Neyland StadiumKnoxville, Tennessee

  • Date: October 10, 2015
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m
  • Game weather: Temperature: 64 °F (18 °C) • Wind: 7 mph (11 km/h) • Weather: cloudy
  • Game attendance: 102,455
  • Referee: Tom Ritter • Umpire: Stan Weihe • Linesman: Johnny Crawford • Line judge: Tim Beard • Back judge: Dax Hill • Field judge: J. Taylor • Side judge: Anthony Jeffrie • Center judge: James Carter
  • TV announcers (CBS): Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (color) and Allie LaForce (sideline)
  • [40]
Game information

The 19th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs came to Knoxville even in their series rivalry with Tennessee. Georgia looked to enter halftime with a 24–3 lead, but the Volunteers scored twice within the last 2:30 of the first half to cut the lead to seven. They scored a further 14 unanswered points in the third quarter. The Bulldogs only managed to score one touchdown in the second half and Tennessee mounted its third biggest comeback in school history to win 38–31, thus ending its five-game losing streak to the Bulldogs.[41]

Tennessee coach Butch Jones stated "[Tennessee] had a different look [...] This football team was not going to be denied. They were going to find a way to win the football game. I'm just happy for them because they deserve to have this feeling."[41]

For his overall performance in the game, quarterback Joshua Dobbs earned Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors. Dobbs' combined passing and rushing for over 400 yards marks the second time in both his career and Tennessee's history.[42]

#8 AlabamaEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
38–51–7 2014 Alabama, 34–20
Tennessee Volunteers at Alabama Crimson Tide – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Tennessee 7 0 0714
#8 Alabama 7 0 3919

at Bryant–Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, Alabama

  • Date: October 24, 2015
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m.
  • Game weather: Temperature: 82 °F (28 °C) • Wind: 11 mph (18 km/h) • Weather: Partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 101,821
  • Referee: John McDaid • Umpire: Tom Quick • Linesman: Gary Jayroe • Line judge: David Oliver • Back judge: Tony Josselyn • Field judge: P. Davenport • Side judge: Chris Conley • Center judge: Wayne Winkler
  • TV announcers (CBS): Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (color) and Allie LaForce (sideline)
  • [43]
Game information

Tennessee entered Bryant–Denny Stadium to face their rivals, the eighth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The 98th meeting between the teams resulted in Alabama winning 19–14 and extending their nine-game winning streak against the Volunteers. The defensive battle saw only two touchdowns from each team, with Alabama stopping a late rally by Tennessee by forcing a fumble from Joshua Dobbs.[44]

Coach Butch Jones stated "I thought our team showed some grit, some determination and some resiliency on the road against a quality opponent, a top 10 opponent, in a hostile environment to go down and drive the ball and put us in a position to win. At the University of Tennessee, there are no moral victories."[44]

KentuckyEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
77–24–9 2014 Tennessee, 50–16
Tennessee Volunteers at Kentucky Wildcats – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Tennessee 7 17 28052
Kentucky 7 7 7021

at Commonwealth StadiumLexington, Kentucky

  • Date: October 31, 2015
  • Game time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Game weather: Temperature: 59 °F (15 °C) • Wind: 19 mph (31 km/h) • Weather: cloudy
  • Game attendance: 60,886
  • Referee: Brad Rogers • Umpire: Rick Lowe • Linesman: Jay Vines • Line judge: Will McDonald • Back judge: Michael Watson • Field judge: Grant Jackson • Side judge: Chris Jamison • Center judge: Kevin Vicknair
  • TV announcers (SECN): Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Jesse Palmer (color) and Maria Taylor Hyatt (sidelines)
  • [45]
Game information

Joshua Dobbs amassed four touchdowns in a 52–21 rout of the Kentucky Wildcats. The Volunteers have won 30 of its last 31 meetings with Kentucky. Evan Berry scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and Cameron Sutton returned an 84-yard punt for a touchdown. Berry's three touchdowns on kickoff returns this season ties Willie Gault's 35-year-old school single-season record.[46] For his performance, Berry was awarded the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.[47]

South CarolinaEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
24–7–2 2014 Tennessee, 45–42 OT
South Carolina Gamecocks at Tennessee Volunteers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
South Carolina 0 3 21024
Tennessee 14 3 7327

at Neyland StadiumKnoxville, Tennessee

  • Date: November 7, 2015
  • Game time: 4:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: 56 °F (13 °C) • Wind: 4 mph (6.4 km/h) • Weather: cloudy
  • Game attendance: 101,253
  • Referee: Matt Austin • Umpire: Rodney Lawary • Linesman: Tim Sistrunk • Line judge: Michael Taylor • Back judge: Roy A. Potts • Field judge: Blake Parks • Side judge: Bobby Moreau • Center judge: Steve Marlowe
  • TV announcers (SECN): Tom Hart (play–by–play), Andre Ware (color), Laura Rutledge (sideline)
  • [48]
Game information

Tennessee won the 16th of its 18 home meetings against the South Carolina Gamecocks, 27–24. This marks the series' third consecutive game to be decided by a field goal, the third consecutive Tennessee comeback, and the sixth by three or fewer points. Malik Foreman forced a South Carolina fumble on Tennessee's 13-yard line and Jalen Reeves-Maybin recovered it to end the Gamecocks' 67-yard drive in the final minute. Following the game, Tennessee coach Butch Jones stated "I'm never going to apologize for winning. This is a hard-fought game. We're playing a good football team. I give South Carolina all the credit in the world. ... They're going to have success. We're still building. I'm proud of our players. I'm proud of our program. We need to start being positive around here."[49][50]

North TexasEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
0–1 1975 North Texas, 21–14
North Texas Mean Green at Tennessee Volunteers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
North Texas 0 0 000
Tennessee 7 10 0724

at Neyland StadiumKnoxville, Tennessee

  • Date: November 14, 2015
  • Game time: Noon
  • Game weather: Temperature: 54 °F (12 °C) • Wind: 5 mph (8.0 km/h) • Weather: Sunny
  • Game attendance: 96,197
  • Referee: Tom Ritter • Umpire: Stan Weihe • Linesman: Johnny Crawford • Line judge: Tim Beard • Back judge: Dax Hill • Field judge: J. Taylor • Side judge: Ant. Jeffries • Center judge: James Carter
  • TV announcers (SECN): Dave Neal (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (color) and Kayce Smith (sidelines)
  • [51]
Game information

For this season's homecoming game, the Volunteers' defense allowed just 199 total yards (the fewest in a game since 2010) in a 24–0 victory over North Texas. Tennessee is now bowl eligible and on a three-game winning streak. However, the Volunteers' offense seemed sluggish, and the Mean Green remained competitive. Tennessee coach Butch Jones stated "There isn't a 'U' behind the 'W' that says 'ugly win'. They're all wins. We have to go back and we have to get better. We're going to be challenged the next couple weeks."[52]

MissouriEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
0–3 2014 Missouri, 29–21
Tennessee Volunteers at Missouri Tigers – game summary
1 2 34Total
Tennessee 6 10 3019
Missouri 0 0 088

at Faurot FieldColumbia, Missouri

  • Date: November 21, 2015
  • Game time: 7:15 p.m.
  • Game weather: Temperature: 28 °F (−2 °C) • Wind: variable, 10–18 mph (16–29 km/h) • Weather: clear
  • Game attendance: 59,575
  • Referee: Matt Austin • Umpire: Rodney Lawary • Linesman: Tim Sistrunk • Line judge: Michael Taylor • Back judge: Jimmy Russell • Field judge: Blake Parks • Side judge: Bobby Moreau • Center judge: James Carter
  • TV announcers (ESPN2): Mark Jones (play-by-play), Greg McElroy (color) and Quint Kessenich (sidelines)
  • [53]
Game information

In the final road game of the regular season, Jalen Hurd ran for a career-high 151 rushing yards and Aaron Medley made four field goals to lead Tennessee to a 19–8 win over Missouri at Faurot Field. Hurd's performance put him over 1,000 yards on the season. This is the Volunteers' first win between the teams since the Tigers joined the SEC in 2012. It was also Tennessee's seventh regular-season win, the first since 2009.[54]

VanderbiltEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
74–30–5 2014 Tennessee, 24–17
Vanderbilt Commodores at Tennessee Volunteers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Vanderbilt 7 7 01428
Tennessee 17 10 161053

at Neyland StadiumKnoxville, Tennessee

  • Date: November 28, 2015
  • Game time: 4:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: Temperature: 64 °F (18 °C) • Wind: 1 mph (1.6 km/h) • Weather: cloudy
  • Game attendance: 98,327
  • Referee: Matt Loeffler • Umpire: Brent Sowell • Linesman: GA Gus Morris • Line judge: Michael Shirey • Back judge: Roy A. Potts • Field judge: Bobby Ables • Side judge: Jesse Dupuy • Center judge: James Carter
  • TV announcers (SECN): Tom Hart (play-by-play), Andre Ware (color) & Laura Rutledge (sidelines)
  • [55]
Game information

In the final game of the regular season, Tennessee beat in-state rival Vanderbilt, 53–28. Joshua Dobbs threw two touchdowns and ran for another, Jalen Hurd scored a touchdown in his 109-yard performance, and Cameron Sutton scored on an 85-yard punt return. The win capped Tennessee's first five-game winning streak, and marked the first time winning at least eight games in a season, since 2007. Following the game, Coach Butch Jones called his team "one of the best teams in the country", adding "our players believe that. There's a lot of positive energy surrounding our program."[56]

#13 NorthwesternEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
1–0 1997 Tennessee, 48–28
#13 Northwestern Wildcats at #23 Tennessee Volunteers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
#13 Northwestern 0 6 006
#23 Tennessee 7 10 72145

at Raymond James StadiumTampa, Florida

  • Date: January 1, 2016
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: Temperature: 79 °F (26 °C) • Wind: 5 mph (8.0 km/h) • Weather: Sunny
  • Game attendance: 53,202
  • Referee: Gary Patterson • Umpire: Terrance Ramsey • Linesman: Mike Kelly • Line judge: Rich Misner • Back judge: Gary Dancewicz • Field judge: Chris Junjulas • Side judge: Tony Tarantini • Center judge: Jim Eckl
  • TV announcers (ESPN2): Mark Jones (play-by-play), Rod Gilmore (color), Quint Kessenich (sidelines)
Game information

RankingsEdit

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. ( ) = First place votes.
Week
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Final 
AP 25 23 RV RV RV NR NR NR NR RV NR NR RV RV RV 22 
Coaches 25 23 RV RV RV NR RV NR NR NR NR NR NR RV RV 23 
CFP Not released NR NR NR NR 25 23 Not released

ReferencesEdit

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