It didn’t take long for Tennessee running back Dylan Sampson to remind everyone what he can do with the football.
Sampson received his first touch since the Austin Peay game during Tennessee’s second drive against UTSA on Saturday.
Sampson took the handoff from Joe Milton III on third-and-6 and ran 10 yards for a touchdown.
The play was set up well for Sampson. And he took off from there.
Sampson finished with a game-high 139 rushing yards on 11 carries.
Sampson scored two touchdowns and added a 20-yard reception.
That’s the kind of playmaking everyone was looking for a week ago when Sampson didn’t play at Florida.
His performance against UTSA will cause fans to again wonder why he didn’t receive an opportunity in the Swamp.
“The flow of the game” was to blame after the loss at Florida.
Does anyone think Sampson couldn’t have helped Tennessee find some rhythm against the Gators’ defense?
To the credit of Tennessee’s coaching staff, they recognized the mistake.
Offensive coordinator Joey Halzle promised last week that Sampson would receive more of an opportunity after vanishing at Florida.
“He knows what we think of him, we know what everyone thinks of him, that’s an electric guy with a ball in his hands,” Halzle said. “We’ll find ways to get that guy the ball whether it’s handing it to him, throwing it to him, using him in the screen game, whatever it is that’s the guy that will have the ball in his hands.”
Halzle was true to his word – and Sampson backed up the praise.
Sampson also avoided any conflict after the UTSA game when he was asked about not playing at Florida.
He said he understood how the gameflow affected his opportunity and pointed to the depth of Tennessee’s running back room.
“I’m willing to do everything I need to do to help this team,” Sampson said. “My mindset is always just make the most that I can with my touches.”
Sampson has done that.
He’s touched the ball 30 times on offense this season. And scored six touchdowns.
That’s why we should see more of Sampson moving forward.
He provides instant offense.
Quick qualifier: Sampson’s six touchdowns this season have come against Virginia, one of the nation’s weakest Power 5 teams, and UTSA.
The competition will be tougher in SEC play.
But there’s no denying Sampson’s burst on the field.
Starting running back Jaylen Wright left Saturday’s game early with an injury, leaving a question mark next to his status.
Regardless, Sampson has proven he deserves more opportunities in Tennessee’s offense.
The Vols rely on their running game to make the offense go.
And Tennessee has used quick passing to supplement the running game.
Sampson’s skillset makes him an option in either scenario.
Sampson’s four-touchdown performance against Virginia led to comparisons to Alvin Kamara, a former Tennessee running back with electric playmaking ability.
The comparison makes sense.
Like Kamara, Sampson offers explosive potential every time he touches the ball.
Both players wore No. 6 for Tennessee, too.
But there’s one comparison fans want to avoid.
Kamara was often underutilized during his two seasons in Knoxville.
He could have done more for the Vols with more opportunities.
Sampson could be like Kamara in a number of ways.
Tennessee needs to make sure Sampson is on the field to show it.