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AP photo by Wade Payne / Tennessee's Cade Mays (68) is attended to after getting injured as his brother, fellow offensive lineman Cooper Mays helps him up during the first half of Saturday night's home game against Ole Miss.

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee's 31-26 loss to No. 13 Ole Miss inside Neyland Stadium on Saturday was one of the most chaotic games in Volunteers history.

Vols senior right tackle Cade Mays got to experience very little of it.

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound senior out of Knoxville Catholic was injured just six minutes into the contest and didn't return. The Vols struggled to 141 first-half yards and trailed 24-12 at intermission, but they wound up with 467 yards for the night.

"Cade was moving around in the locker room tonight," coach Josh Heupel said. "As someone who has grown up here — he said he's been to a lot of football games here inside of this stadium and that this was the most energetic and juicy atmosphere he's ever seen. I'm really disappointed he only got three plays.

"I would assume that he's going to be ready to play for the next one."

Mays was replaced at right tackle by former walk-on Dayne Davis.

The Vols played the entire game without leading rusher Tiyon Evans, who watched from the sideline in street clothes. Evans sustained an ankle injury during the third quarter of last weekend's 45-20 win over South Carolina.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker wound up leading the Vols with 23 rushes for 108 yards and a touchdown before he got injured, while Jabari Small added 21 carries for 92 yards and a score.

"I think the running backs did well tonight, but Tiyon is a big playmaker for our team," receiver Cedric Tillman said. "It was just unfortunate."

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AP photo by Wade Payne / Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel looks on during the second half of Saturday night's 31-26 loss to Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium.

Bodies kept dropping

Saturday night's game took four hours and 33 minutes, with player injuries factoring into that.

Some of the injuries certainly looked worse than others, but that's obviously a touchy subject for Heupel, who thrives on operating at a fast tempo.

"The rules committee looks at that stuff during every offseason," Heupel said. "I'm the wrong guy to ask about how to change that."

 

Sankey weighs in

Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey weighed in on Tennessee fans throwing debris on the field during the final minute of Saturday's game.

"The conference has established expectations for behavior and sportsmanship, and the actions of fans at Saturday night's game were unacceptable under any circumstances," Sankey said through a released statement. "We are accustomed to intense competition every week, but under no circumstances is it acceptable to endanger the contest participants and disrupt a game. We will review existing conference policies and the commissioner's authority to impose penalties and communicate with the leadership at the University of Tennessee — and all of the SEC's member universities — to make certain this situation is not repeated."

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AP photo by Wade Payne / Ole Miss football players and coaches stand on the field after Saturday night's game at Tennessee was delayed because of fans throwing debris onto the field late in the second half.

Forward progress

Tennessee edge-rusher Tyler Baron appeared to return a Matt Corral fumble for a touchdown from near midfield midway through the first quarter, but the play was nullified when officials ruled Corral's forward progress had stopped.

"On Tyler's play, they said that forward progress had been stopped and that it's not a reviewable play," Heupel said.

 

Odds and ends

Tennessee's baseball team that reached the College World Series this year was recognized at the end of the first quarter. ... Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin used all three timeouts with two seconds left in the first half. ... Linebackers Jeremy Banks and Aaron Beasley led the Vols with 15 and 10 tackles, respectively, on a unit that played 101 snaps.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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