What should have been an easy blowout win for Tennessee Football turned into the most lethargic win in school history over an FCS school. Key players actually had to step up for the Vols to make sure this happened, which shouldn’t have been the case. Here are the five best performers from the game.
5. Jackson Ross
After another bad kick on his first punt, Jackson Ross actually had a good game. He pinned two punts inside the 20-yard line that went over 45 yards each, and one was fumbled, which set up the Vols’ first points of the game. You have to give him credit for that fumble, as it was due to the spin he put on it.
4. Jaylen Wright
Jabari Small would’ve been on here, but he dropped a screen pass that should’ve gone 60 yards for a score. The offensive line did its job so UT could run the ball well, and Jaylen Wright took advantage more than anybody else. Wright had 13 carries for 118 yards and another three catches for 18 yards. As a team, the Vols had 228 yards on the ground.
3. Wesley Walker
As the anchor of the Tennessee Football secondary at free safety, Wesley Walker was pretty good throughout. While the Vols allowed two long drives late, that wasn’t Walker’s fault. He had a pass breakup, a sack and six tackles, three of which were solo in this game, continuing to show his value at the position.
2. Kamal Hadden
Although Kamal Hadden picked up a bad pass interference penalty, he still made lots of plays. Austin Peay targeted him all night, and he came away with three pass deflections and an interception. The one touchdown drive Austin Peay had through the air was due to a bust by Doneiko Slaughter, so Hadden did his job.
1. Aaron Beasley
Sure, it was against Austin Peay, but Aaron Beasley had a historic performance. With Keenan Pili out, he was going to have to step up for Tennessee Football, and he came away with five tackles for a loss, two sacks and nine tackles, eight of which were solo. It looks like he and Elijah Herring will be the starters going forward, but he looks like a star.