Josh Dobbs spectacular in last home game of his Vols career

Josh Dobbs spectacular in last home game of his Vols career

November 20th, 2016 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

Tennessee senior quarterback Joshua Dobbs leaves the field after his last game at Neyland Stadium against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Tennessee won their final home game of the season 63-37.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

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KNOXVILLE — Rarely in his career as Tennessee's quarterback has Josh Dobbs gotten rattled.

The scene of his final home game Saturday did the trick, but it hardly affected his play.

Dobbs starred in his final game at Neyland Stadium as he displayed all aspects of his ability in leading the Volunteers to a 63-37 rout of visiting Missouri.

"It was emotional to say the least," Dobbs said after totaling 413 yards and accounting for five touchdowns.

"I'm not a huge emotional guy, but I definitely was feeling it a little bit. The last time you walk off the field, the last time you run through the 'T,' the last coin toss, leading the band, singing 'Rocky Top' with your teammates, the last time walking off at Neyland — there was definitely a lot of emotions.

"I definitely had a blast."

His teammates have had a blast watching him lead the Vols the past three seasons.

Dobbs on Saturday became the fourth SEC quarterback with 50-plus passing touchdowns and 25-plus rushing touchdowns, joining the trio of Florida's Tim Tebow, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Mississippi State's Dak Prescott.

Since losing the first three starts of his career as a freshman in 2013, Dobbs is 22-8 as Tennessee's starting quarterback.

"He's meant a lot to the program for what's he done," wide receiver Josh Malone said. "He's stuck it out, burned like two redshirt years to save a season and just helped build back Tennessee and helped this whole entire team get back to what Tennessee is supposed to be. That's playing in big bowl games, possibly getting 10 wins in a season.

"Just his character and how he represents himself is so big to the program."

His play was big for Tennessee's win against the Tigers. In the first half he threw deep-ball touchdowns to Jauan Jennings and Josh Malone and added an unbelievable highlight-reel scramble to convert on third down of an eventual touchdown drive.

His bomb to Malone was a talking point for his teammates, with tight end Ethan Wolf and right tackle Brett Kendrick jokingly telling him it was the tightest spiral and prettiest pass of his career.

"Sixty yards on a dime," Dobbs said with a grin. "That's tough to beat for sure."

In the second half he ripped off runs of 30, 70 and 40 yards, the first two going for touchdowns as Tennessee pulled away.

"He knows it's special playing in Neyland Stadium," Kendrick said. "His last game, I think he was trying to block it out all week because he didn't want it to be about him. He's real unselfish, but I'm glad he played the way he did."

With less than three minutes to go, Tennessee coach Butch Jones called time out to take Dobbs out of the game for a curtain call met with applause by the fans staying to the end.

"I think he deserved that," Jones said. "That was everything over the course of the last four years that he's meant to our football program. I thought he deserved to have that."

With his parents, Robert and Stephanie, present for the postgame news conferences, Jones recalled the five-hour in-home meeting he had with Dobbs and his family when he was recruiting him, and the coach said then he knew had a winner.

"It's all about them, and they've raised a fine young man," Jones said. "Joshua Dobbs — I'm not very political — but he could be the President of the United States if he wanted to. He's a young man that when he puts his mind to accomplishing whatever he wants, he'll accomplish whatever he wants.

"We knew we had something special four years ago."

Tennessee will have Dobbs for at least two more games before turning the program over to a new quarterback.

"He's done a lot to bring this program back to where it is right now," Kendrick said. "We owe a lot to him. He's been a special player for us."

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com.