Joe Adams’ punt return deflated Vols as Razorbacks roll jh81

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks at the point after attempt that put Arkansas ahead 49-7 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011 //

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams runs back a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011.  (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams runs back a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams breaks tackles to return a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams breaks tackles to return a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams breaks past Tennessee defensive back Brian Randolph  to return a punt for a touchdown at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams breaks past Tennessee defensive back Brian Randolph to return a punt for a touchdown at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS

In Harry King’s article on Saturday I read this:

“We’re just struggling right now on offense, and I don’t know any other way to say it,” said Tennessee coach Derek Dooley.

That was demonstrated best by Joe Adams’ punt return on Saturday.

My son Wilson and I had the same reaction to Joe Adams’ punt return. We were seating at the 40 yard line on the side of the field that ran down and when he received the ball at the 45 yard line and ran back to the 30 we were yelling “No, no, no,” but that quickly changed to “Go Joe, Go Joe” when he passed the 50 and ran by us.

Here is an article from the Tennessee perspective:

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. —Derek Dooley couldn’t find anything wrong with the coverage.

The punt itself might have left a little to be desired, but the Tennessee coach watched his special teams close down the space on the returner and put itself in exactly the kind of position he would have drawn up.

“It was great,” Dooley said.

Everything that happened after came up well short of that evaluation, with Joe Adams shaking off a handful of tacklers, juking past others and then cruising into the end zone with a huge momentum-swinging touchdown that sent No. 8 Arkansas on its way to a 49-7 win against the overmatched Vols on Saturday night at Razorback Stadium.

“We should have had him for minus-10 (yards),” Dooley said. “We had five guys there, we’ve got to finish it.

“We missed a lot of opportunities, there were a ton of missed tackles in space. On the punt return we had about five guys right there and we’ve got to finish them off.”

The Vols (4-6, 0-6 SEC) couldn’t find a way to do it despite getting several sets of hands on Adams, and a couple others just simply whiffed on him during his winding, 60-yard road to a score.

That future staple on the highlight reel for the Razorbacks (9-1, 5-1) only gave them a 14-point lead, and UT had plenty of chances to close the margin and climb back into the game. But the Vols couldn’t overcome their other errors on special teams, from a botched fake on a field goal to a shanked 12-yard punt, which only compounded the issues they were having on offense and defense.

“I mean, we had a lot of missed tackles on that, obviously,” senior linebacker Austin Johnson said. “It was huge for them, it was a huge momentum swing for them because we were still in the game.

“I think it deflated us and we just have to make sure that when those kinds of things happen we have to stay up.”

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Tennessee defensive back Izauea Lanier is unable to stop Arkansas wide receiver Jarius Wright from scoring at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011.  (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Tennessee defensive back Izauea Lanier is unable to stop Arkansas wide receiver Jarius Wright from scoring at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

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