KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tyler Bray threw for 401 yards and four touchdowns and Rajion Neal rushed for a career-high 151 yards Saturday night as Tennessee pulled away in the second half for a 47-26 victory over Akron.
Bray's 3-yard touchdown pass to Neal with 6:47 left in the third quarter broke a 23-23 tie and put the Volunteers (3-1) ahead for good. After giving up the game's final 24 points last week in a 37-20 loss to Florida, Tennessee ended Saturday's game on a 17-0 run and finished the night with 633 yards of total offense.
Bray also threw touchdown passes to Brendan Downs, Justin Hunter and Jacob Carter, though he also had one interception that was returned for a touchdown by Akron's Avis Commack. Downs and Carter scored their first career touchdowns, while Hunter caught eight passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Akron's Dalton Williams went 27 of 49 for 229 yards, but he was intercepted three times and didn't throw a touchdown pass. Byron Moore had two of Tennessee's three interceptions.
Akron (1-3) headed into Neyland Stadium on a 21-game road losing streak and had been outscored 256-19 in its five previous games with Southeastern Conference opponents, but the Zips gave Tennessee all it could handle. With his legendary father, Bobby Bowden, watching from the Akron section of the stands, Zips coach Terry Bowden displayed the acumen that helped him post a 47-17-1 record at Auburn from 1993-98.
Although they were outgained 368-202 in the first half, the Zips continually capitalized on Tennessee mistakes and went into halftime tied 23-23.
Akron seemed ready to regain the lead after driving to Tennessee's 15 on its first possession of the second half, but Moore picked off a pass intended for Tyler Williams near the goal line for his second interception of the night.
Tennessee got an even bigger break later in the third quarter when a fumble by tight end Mychal Rivera was overturned on replay. When officials determined Rivera was down before losing the ball, it allowed Tennessee to maintain possession on the Akron 36. The Vols drove down the field from there and scored a tiebreaking touchdown on Bray's pass to Neal.
Akron wouldn't go away.
The Zips cut the lead to 30-26 with 14:50 remaining when Robert Stein connected on a 37-yarder for his fourth field goal of the night. That kick was made possible by Bowden's decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 40, as Jawon Chisholm dove 2 yards to keep the drive going.
Derrick Brodus answered with a 28-yard field goal - his fourth of the night - on Tennessee's next drive to extend the lead to seven again.
This time, Akron wouldn't respond.
|AKRON||Avis Commack 44 yd interception return (Robert Stein kick)|
|TENN||A.J. Johnson 2 yd run (Derrick Brodus kick)|
|TENN||Derrick Brodus 37 yd FG|
|AKRON||Robert Stein 45 yd FG|
|TENN||Derrick Brodus 23 yd FG|
|AKRON||Robert Stein 32 yd FG|
|TENN||Brendan Downs 6 yd pass from Tyler Bray (Derrick Brodus kick)|
|AKRON||Robert Stein 37 yd FG|
|AKRON||Quentin Hines 70 yd run (Robert Stein kick)|
|TENN||Derrick Brodus 22 yd FG|
|TENN||Rajion Neal 3 yd pass from Tyler Bray (Derrick Brodus kick)|
|AKRON||Robert Stein 37 yd FG|
|TENN||Derrick Brodus 28 yd FG|
|TENN||Justin Hunter 19 yd pass from Tyler Bray (Derrick Brodus kick)|
|TENN||Jacob Carter 24 yd pass from Tyler Bray (Derrick Brodus kick)|
|Third Down Efficiency||5-15||5-14|
|Fourth Down Efficiency||1-1||0-2|
|Kick Return Yds||77||54|
|Punt Return Yds||4||45|
|Time of Poss.||28:36||31:24|
|AKRON: Quentin Hines 6-76, Jawon Chisholm 14-53, Conor Hundley 2-8, Dalton Williams 1--4, Team 2--8, Tyler Williams 1--10|
|TENN: Rajion Neal 22-151, Marlin Lane 9-47, Justin King 1-18, Cordarrelle Patterson 2-12, Quenshaun Watson 8-6, Alton Howard 1-3, A.J. Johnson 2-2, Tyler Bray 1--7|
|AKRON: Dalton Williams 27-49-229-3|
|TENN: Tyler Bray 27-43-401-1|
|AKRON: Marquelo Suel 12-92, Zach D'Orazio 6-72, Dee Frieson 4-11, Keith Sconiers 2-17, Tyler Williams 1-21, L.T. Smith 1-9, Will Fleming 1-7|
|TENN: Justin Hunter 8-115, Zach Rogers 3-72, Rajion Neal 3-22, Marlin Lane 2-49, Mychal Rivera 2-43, Ben Bartholomew 2-21, Cordarrelle Patterson 2-20, Alton Howard 2-18, Jacob Carter 1-24, Vincent Dallas 1-11, Brendan Downs 1-6|
|Akron||7th Mid American East||0-8||1-11|
|Tennessee||6th SEC East||1-7||5-7|