Josh Heupel and the Vols scored on four straight possessions at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half to turn a 7-0 lead into a 35-3 onslaught, and Tennessee Football (1-0) won its season-opener against the Virginia Cavaliers (0-1) 49-13. UT did it in Nashville, Tenn., at Nissan Stadium.
The Vols scored on the opening drive but struggled after that. UT failed to score on five straight possessions that included a failed 4th and 1, a Ramel Keyton dropped a touchdown pass, a Dee Williams fumbled punt and a drive in which Joe Milton III missed three straight throws.
However, a 90-yard drive late in the second quarter ended in a score. Then Heupel and Tennessee Football led a two-minute touchdown drive at the end of the half to go up 21-3. The dominance continued in the second half, and with a 42-10 lead early in the fourth, Milton was pulled for Nico Iamaleava.
Milton finished his day 21-of-30 for 201 yards and two touchdowns while running it nine times for 33 yards and two more scores. Jaylen Wright was the leading rusher with 12 carries for 115 yards, but Dylan Sampson ran for three scores and caught another TD pass, finishing with 61 yards from scrimmage. Jabari Small had 13 carries for 67 yards and three catches for 13 yards.
Ramel Keyton led the way in receiving with three catches for 66 yards. Jacob Warren caught a touchdown pass along with Sampson. In mop-up duty, Iamaleava completed 2-of-3 passes for 11 yards, both to Kaleb Webb. He also had an eight-yard run. However, by the time he was in there, UT was clearly trying to just run out the clock.
On defense, the Vols held UVA to under 200 total yards. James Pearce Jr. was the star with two sacks, and Tyler Baron had two as well. UVA quarterback Tony Muskett left the game in the second have due to an injury after converting 9-of-17 passes for 94 yards. Anthony Colandrea finished the day for the Cavs.
This is the second straight win for UT over an ACC team, as they beat the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl to close out last year. Up next for Tennessee Football is a return to Knoxville for its home opener next weekend at Neyland Stadium against the Austin Peay Governors. The Cavaliers will also have their home opener next weekend in Charlottesville, Va., against the James Madison dukes.