TV announcers (ESPNU): Dave Neal (Play-by-Play), Andre Ware (Color), Cara Capuano (Sideline)
The Tennessee Volunteers opened the season in the Georgia Dome against NC State in the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Junior college transfer WR Cordarrelle Patterson put a show early on in his debut as a Volunteer, catching a 41-yard touchdown as well as rushing for a 67-yard touchdown on a reverse, both during the first quarter. Tyler Bray threw for 333 passing yards with two touchdowns, including a 72-yard bomb to Zach Rogers, who beat NC State star cornerback David Amerson down the field. The defense not only recorded a safety but also forced 4 interceptions by NC State quarterback Mike Glennon. Despite Bray losing a fumble at the end of the first half, Tennessee would continue to dominate the rest of the game. On the opening possession of the 2nd half, Rajion Neal rushed for an 8-yard touchdown, which would be followed by a 20-yard field goal by Michael Palardy to extend the Vol's lead to 32-14. NC State responded in the 4th when Glennon threw a touchdown to Bryan Underwood to whittle Tennessee's lead down to 32-21. Too bad for Glennon he would also throw 2 of his 4 interceptions during the 4th quarter, and after one more Palardy field goal, Tennessee would go on to win 35-21.