BRISTOL, TN — In a game played before the largest crowd to ever see a college football game, the Tennessee Volunteers overcame an early 14-point deficit to beat the Virginia Tech Hokies 45-24. The game was played at the historic Bristol Motor Speedway, the first time ever that a college football game was played inside a motor sports track.
It also made perfect geographic sense since the state lines of Tennessee and Virginia run through downtown Bristol, which creates the twin cities of Bristol, TN and Bristol, VA. A record crowd of 156,990 fans crowded into the motor speedway and saw an exciting game between these two rivals. The total attendance shattered the previous mark of 115,109 who watched Michigan beat Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium in 2013.
Virginia Tech dominated the first quarter of play and outgained Tennessee 204-24 while taking a 14-0 lead. But the Vols came back strong by scoring the next 31 points with 24 of them coming in quarter number two. Momentum seemed to turn in Tennessee’s favor when Micah Abernathy recovered a fumble on the Hokies 5-yard line on the first play of the second quarter. On the next play, Vol’s quarterback Joshua Dobbs found Jauan Jennings for a touchdown pass.
For the game, Dobbs threw three touchdown passes and also ran the ball 14 times for 106 yards. Tennessee’s running back Jalen Hurd was also productive with 99 yards on 22 carries. Alexander set a school single-game record with three fumble recoveries overall. In fact, turnovers are what may have sealed Virginia Tech’s fate in this one as they lost a total of five fumbles, three of them resulting in Tennessee touchdowns. For the Hokies, one bright spot was the play of Travon McMillian who managed to rush for a total of 169 yards including a 69-yard score.
Tennessee remains undefeated (2-0), and this was a nice bounce back game after a slim overtime win in week one against Appalachian State. They will host Ohio next Saturday. Virginia Tech (1-1) will need to clean up their turnover issues as they host Boston College in their ACC opener next week.