Neyland crowd of 58,473 watches White nip Orange, 17-14

Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


University of Tennessee

Tennessee concluded spring practice Saturday in front of 58,473 at Neyland Stadium, with JT Carver’s 40-yard field goal in the closing minutes lifting the White to a 17-14 victory over the Orange in an evenly-matched Orange and White Game.

Email newsletter signup

The attendance ranked as the sixth largest in Orange & White Game history.

“What a beautiful day inside Neyland Stadium for the future of our program,” said head coach Josh Heupel. “Over 58,000 people showing up here on Rocky Top. Unbelievable turnout from our fanbase,  absolute best in the country. I thank them for the energy they created outside the stadium with everything we had going on this week. That was hugely important. (Thank you) to our VFLs that showed up. It was a great weekend to celebrate what they have done, what they have meant to our program and do mean to our program, and celebrate what’s going on here currently and what we’re going to continue to build together with them.”

Three Vol quarterbacks alternated possessions for both squads on the sun-drenched afternoon, getting points on all four trips inside the red zone and amassing 464 yards of total offense. Freshman Nico Iamaleava finished 8-of-16 for 112 yards, redshirt senior Joe Milton III went 9-of-13 for 79 yards and a touchdown and redshirt junior Gaston Moore finished 8-of-11 for 94 yards with a pair of TD tosses. Combined, the trio finished 25-of-40 for 285 yards.

Moore directed both of his scoring drives in the first half. He found freshman wide receiver Dayton Sneed in the back corner of the end zone to put the White up 7-0 with 10:40 left in the first quarter. Moore later knotted the score at 7-7 with a second remaining in the frame via a four-yard toss to redshirt senior tight end Hunter Salmon for the Orange. Charles Campbell, a redshirt senior and transfer from Indiana, kicked both extra points.

Milton led the White to a score and back into the lead later in the second frame. After connecting with redshirt freshman wide receiver Kaleb Webb for 39 yards earlier in the drive, Milton found Webb again for a four-yard touchdown toss. Carver followed with the PAT to make it 14-7 with 3:47 on the clock.

Just before the half, Iamaleava guided the Orange 75 yards in nine plays, with freshman running back Cameron Seldon bursting free for a 24-yard scoring scamper. Campbell’s kick sent the game into halftime at 14-all.

The only score of the second half was Carver’s kick with just over three minutes remaining, and Iamaleava was under center for what turned out to be the game-winning drive. His 16-yard pass to freshman tight end Ethan Davis was a key play in moving the White into scoring range.

Backfield standouts on the day included freshman running back DeSean Bishop, who rushed for a game-high 88 yards on 24 carries, and freshman running back Cameron Seldon, who tallied 43 rushing yards and a score on 10 carries along with three receptions for 43 yards.

Davis was the leading receiver, hauling in three balls for 53 yards and a touchdown, while Webb finished with 50 yards and a score on three catches. Redshirt senior receiver Michael Bittner had two catches for 44 yards, and Sneed tallied two receptions for 24 yards and a score.

Defensively, redshirt freshman defensive back Cameron Miller and redshirt senior Wesley Walker registered six tackles each. Miller added a sack and an interception. Junior defensive back Christian Charles was in on three stops and came up with a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.

In addition to the perfect day from the Vol kickers, redshirt sophomore Kolby Morgan averaged 46.5 yards on four punts. He had a long boot of 55 yards.

The Vols open year three of the Heupel era on Sept. 2 against Virginia at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.