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Tennessee Football torchbearers: Vols’ top five performers in Citrus Bowl win vs. Iowa

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Monday was a day of coming out parties for numerous Tennessee Football players. Quarterback was the most obvious position, but the Vols had players step up across the board in their 35-0 Citrus Bowl victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes. Here are the top five UT performers from the game who earned the torchbearer awards.

5. Elijah Herring, LB

He’s still not a true middle linebacker given his lack of lateral quickness, but playing a team as slow as Iowa is perfect for a guy like Elijah Herring, who does everything else right. Herring was a huge reason the Hawkeyes couldn’t run the ball, and he finished the day with two tackles for a loss, a sack, a pass deflection and four total tackles three of which were solo.

4. Andre Turrentine, DB

Despite struggling late in the year when he was filling in for injuries, Andre Turrentine balled out Saturday. With him stepping in at safety, Iowa was unable to generate any passing attack, significantly worse than what they even usually do. Turrentine had the key red zone interception to spark the Vols early, and he also broke up another pass.

3. Tyre West, DL

One of the most highly touted signees for Tennessee Football in 2022, Tyre West had everybody waiting for him to break out. New Years Day in Orlando might have been his moment. West had one and a half sacks on the game to go with four total tackles, three of which were solo. With Tyler Baron gone, he could be the other end next year.

2. Nico Iamaleava, QB

Of course Nico Iamaleava was going to be on here. He went 12-of-19 for 151 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 27 yards and three more scores. Honestly, the rest of the offense was bad. Ramel Keyton missed two balls. Dylan Sampson had 133 yards rushing but, along with the offensive line, was horrendous pass blocking. Iamaleava, in his first start, legitimately carried this group.

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1. James Pearce Jr., EDGE

Although Iamaleava was the story, James Pearce Jr. was clearly the player of the game. Pearce forced two turnovers, coming away with a strip-sack that set up one touchdown and then having a pick-six on the very next drive. He finished with three solo tackles, and the pressure he consistently brought was the catalyst for Tennessee Football pitching a shutout.

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