Tennessee Makes Statement In Baton Rouge, Vols Now Firmly In CFP Conversation

BATON ROUGE, LA: It’s not every day that a team strolls into Baton Rouge and forces fans to the exits before ‘Callin Baton Rouge is played. But that was the case on Saturday afternoon, as No.8 Tennessee took care of LSU, 40-13, and put to bed any type of questions about legitimacy.

Not only did Tennessee fans take over the stadium in the fourth quarter, it felt like a home game from the start. Thanks to a muffed kickoff, the Vols took over in LSU territory, following it up with the opening touchdown. From that moment on, Josh Heupel and his team would not look back.

Tennessee Vols down a punt inside the 5-yard line

As fans clad in purple and yellow started filing out of the stadium, Tennessee was still looking to add points to this win. It wasn’t enough for this squad to be up 37-7. No, they were trying to make a statement to the rest of college football.

Even though he had a few balls that were under-thrown, quarterback Hendon Hooker looked the part again today. Passing for over 240 yards and 2 touchdowns, it felt as if Josh Heupel’s offense was always in control. Whether that be a long pass down the sideline to Bru McCoy or a touchdown pass to Jalin Hyatt, the Vols had it all on Saturday.

At the 12:48 mark of the fourth quarter, LSU running backs had only rushed for 17 yards, compared to the 191 from Tennessee. The only student section tradition that was going on in the second half, was them leaving in unison and heading to the bars.

It got so bad for LSU fans, that one lady started screaming at me for Tennessee having the ‘Signal Blocker’ flags up along the sidelines.

Tennessee AD Danny White watches on. via: Trey Wallace

The clock was ticking in the fourth quarter, as thousands of Tennessee fans waited for it to finally strike zero. As LSU fans made its way towards the exits, Tennessee fans were going to soak up ever minute in ‘Death Valley’. They’ve earned the right to soak in this fun, just as the football team has well.

Not only are they still standing, but they very well be a top-five team come next weekend against Alabama.

Tennessee crowd. Via: Trey Wallace

It’s the way they are beating teams that stands out the most, building up enough of a lead and then the defense was takes it from there. But what you saw out of this crew led by linebacker Jeremy Banks today against LSU was impressive, again, holding LSU to under 50-yard rushing at the 9:00 mark of the game.

It’s time to notice that Tennessee has a team worthy enough of being mentioned for the playoffs. This was only the 5th game of the season, so there’s still time to judge.

But after today’s domination of LSU on the road, it’s time for the Vols to get some of that respect they’ve been looking for.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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