Tennessee eager for QB Joshua Dobbs to build on his momentum
Dobbs threw for 312 yards and rushed for 118 yards last week in a 38-31 victory over Georgia, which marked the second time that he has passed for 300 yards and rushed for 100 yards in the same game. He also did it against South Carolina last season.
His big game helped Tennessee (3-3, 1-2 SEC) go through its off week feeling better about itself after a disappointing first half. The Volunteers' hopes of making a second consecutive late-season run depend on whether Dobbs builds on his momentum.
Tennessee's schedule certainly gives the Vols an opportunity for a strong finish. Tennessee visits No. 10 Alabama (5-1, 2-1) and Kentucky (4-2, 2-2) in its next two games, but the Volunteers' final four opponents have a combined record of 8-15.
''We talk about it every week (that) each week is a season of its own,'' Dobbs said. ''You have to attack each week like that or you'll get behind and won't be ready to play on Saturday.''
Dobbs' versatility puts him in select company.
Heisman Trophy winners Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel are the only other SEC players to throw for 300 yards and run for 100 yards in the same game since the league began divisional play in 1992, which is as far back as the SEC's research goes on that particular subject. Manziel accomplished that feat twice at Texas A&M, while Tebow did it once for Florida.
Since the start of the 2014 season, only seven Football Bowl Subdivision players have thrown for 300 yards and run for 100 yards in the same game, according to STATS LLC. Dobbs is the only FBS player to do it more than once over the last two seasons.
In a 28-27 loss at Florida this season, Dobbs became the first FBS player since 2003 to lead his team in rushing, receiving and passing in the same game.
''He is the CEO of our team,'' running back Alvin Kamara said after the Georgia game.
But he hasn't always been effective.
Dobbs' completion percentage (58.0) and passing efficiency rating (125.97) are down from last season, when he started Tennessee's final five games and led the Vols to a 4-1 record during that stretch. Dobbs' receiving corps has been hampered by injuries to Marquez North and Jason Croom and the dismissal of Alton ''Pig'' Howard.
''Honestly, I don't really pay attention to what anyone says about us because we have our own confidence,'' Dobbs said. ''We don't need confidence from other people.''
His confidence can carry over to the rest of the team. That's evident in how Tennessee has rallied in his two best performances.
Dobbs threw for 301 yards and ran for 166 yards last season as Tennessee edged South Carolina 45-42 in overtime after trailing by two touchdowns with five minutes left in regulation time. . The Vols erased a 24-3 deficit against Georgia last week to match their third-biggest comeback in school history.
''That's something we expect from him,'' tight end Ethan Wolf said. ''It's nothing surprising when it happens. He's doing a great job right now, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do the rest of the season.''
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