Patterson, Vols beat NC State 35-21

Associated Press Modified: August 31, 2012 at 11:46 pm •  Published: August 31, 2012
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ATLANTA (AP) — Derek Dooley says he knows Tennessee fans are eager to grasp any sign that the Vols are ready to return to glory.

The coach said his team's opening win wasn't such a sign. It was just a good first step.

Cordarrelle Patterson scored two first-quarter touchdowns — one a 41-yard catch, the second a 67-yard run — and Tennessee beat North Carolina State 35-21 on Friday night in the opening game for both teams.

"It's one game," Dooley said. "I already know you are going to say we were there, we're on our way. It's one game. It really doesn't mean anything other than we won the first game."

Patterson helped make it a successful start to Dooley's third season, following a 5-7 finish in 2011, when the Vols were last in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division at 1-7.

Patterson, a 6-foot-3 wide receiver who transferred from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, played like a star in his Tennessee debut. Patterson had six catches for 93 yards as the Vols won the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game.

"He's got a chance to be one of the best in the league," Vols linebacker Dontavis Sapp said.

Dooley said Patterson has more to learn.

"I'm not sure he ran the right route," Dooley said of Patterson's touchdown catch.

Patterson called his first game "just a great feeling" before he seemed to confirm Dooley's review.

"I need to get the routes better and continue to learn the offense," Patterson said.

Patterson was a surprise to the Wolfpack.

"We didn't know a lot," N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said. "He obviously is a heck of a player."

O'Brien said Patterson's height is especially difficult to defend when the Vols lined up 6-4 receiver Justin Hunter on the other side of the field.

"When you've got 6-foot-4 on either side and running like they do, that puts a lot of stress on a defense," O'Brien said.

Tennessee (1-0) scored 16 points on two touchdowns and a safety in a span of 38 seconds late in the first quarter.

Mike Glennon threw four interceptions with one touchdown for North Carolina State (0-1).

A 20-year-old man was taken to a hospital after falling approximately 35 feet from the upper level of the Georgia Dome.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which operates the downtown football stadium, said in a statement that the man fell on another fan seated in the mezzanine area.

The fan who was hit while seated was taken to a hospital.

Wolfpack cornerback David Amerson, who led the nation and set an ACC record with 13 interceptions in 2011, was beaten for two long touchdown passes.

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