Tennessee Roughs Up Western Kentucky In Kiffin's Debut

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Jonathan Crompton threw five touchdown passes Saturday, leading Tennessee to a 63-7 rout of Western Kentucky and its first win under new coach Lane Kiffin.

The Hilltoppers were welcomed to their first season as full-fledged members of the Football Bowl Subdivision with the Volunteers' largest margin of victory since a 70-3 win over Louisiana-Monroe in 2000.

In its first two drives, Tennessee looked as if it hadn't learned much under Kiffin, the youngest active coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Crompton threw a pass over the middle that was easily tipped by Thomas Majors and intercepted by Jamal Forrest , and Hardestly fumbled after a hard hit.

The Vols settled down after the first quarter, and Montario Hardesty carried for 18 and 22 yards to help set up a 2-yard touchdown run by freshman Bryce Brown and a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Bobby Rainey fumbled on the Hilltoppers' next play, and LaMarcus Thompson recovered for Tennessee. Crompton connected with Stocker on his first of two TD catches moments later to make it 14-0 only 7 seconds later.

The Vols receiving corps hardly looked depleted by injuries, with Luke Stocker , Marsalis Teague , Quintin Hancock and Brandon Warren each catching scoring strikes.

Crompton finished 21 of 28 with two interceptions, and his five TD passes was one more than his entire output last season. Hardesty finished with 160 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, and Brown had 104 yards rushing and a touchdown on 11 attempts.

The Hilltoppers couldn't capitalize on the early turnovers against the Vols' stout defense and had minus-21 yards after their first 19 plays. Tennessee finished with 657 yards compared to Western Kentucky's 83.

Rainey had the Hilltoppers' only score on a 19-yard run with 2:41 in the third quarter that made it 35-7.


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