John Kelly rushed for 101 yards with a touchdown and Tennessee’s defense recorded seven sacks on Saturday as the Volunteers staggered to a 17-13 victory over 27 ½-point underdog Massachusetts.
Tennessee (3-1) was trying to bounce back from a 26-20 loss at No. 20 Florida in which the Vols allowed a tiebreaking 63-yard touchdown pass as time expired. Tennessee coach Butch Jones’ staff was roasted all week for everything from Tennessee’s red-zone play calling to its defensive strategy on the game’s final play.
The Vols’ performance against UMass (0-5) won’t quiet that criticism. Tennessee struggled to put away a winless team that played the entire game without star tight end Adam Breneman and most of the second half without starting quarterback Andrew Ford due to injuries.