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The Tennessee Volunteers save their best for last

By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

Not even “Brylcreem” could have erased the gray feeling that Tennessee left Iowa with. And they did it with a “little dab” more than Dobbs.
Tennessee’s 45-28 win in the TaxSlayer Bowl sent a stern message that their brick-by-brick rebuilding project is near completion. It also left Big Orange fans feeling optimistic about next year.
The Vols (7-6) capped off their first winning season since 2009. It was their first bowl win since knocking off Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day in 2008.
Tennessee fans now have something to smile about for the first time in ages.
Butch Jones is one of the top college football coaches and recruiters in the country. He’s also happy in Knoxville and has been given a hefty raise and contract extension.
The Vols will return 19 starters from the team that took the field against the Hawkeyes. They also will add a top-five signing class to go along with Dobbs and freshman running back star Jalen Hurd.
The Hendersonvlle native set the tone in the win over Iowa.
He scored the first two touchdowns and gained 122 yards on 16 carriers in less than three quarters of work. Many of those yards came after the first initial hit.
Dobbs threw for 129 yards and a touchdown. He added 76 yards rushing and two TD’s. He was tabbed as the Bowl’s MVP but it was MVP performances from everyone across the board.
Iowa’s coach Kirk Ferentz was impressed.
“They were ready from the start,” said Ferentz. “They played an excellent football game. I’d venture to say that’s the best they’ve played all year. We couldn’t match their tempo in the first quarter.”
Did anyone see this coming?
It took a strong finish including wins over Kentucky and Vanderbilt in their final two games to make them bowl eligible. But the signs were there.
They nearly knocked off Georgia and Florida and probably should have. A victory over South Carolina and Steve Spurrier was their signature win. We can only speculate what might have been had Dobbs been behind center.
He and Hurd had 198 of Tennessee’s 283 rushing yards against the Hawkeye’s defense. Their combination of speed and power was a beautiful thing to watch.

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