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Saturday, September 17, 2011
Tennessee waiting on Justin Hunter MRI

By Edward Aschoff

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said he'll wait for an MRI on the knee of sophomore wide receiver Justin Hunter, but the thought is that the injury could be serious.

"Every indication that it's not OK," Dooley said.

Hunter, who entered the game with a team-high 16 catches for 302 yards and had two touchdowns, was injured on the fourth play of Tennessee's opening drive.

Hunter went into the locker room during the second quarter and came back out on crutches and in warmups. Without Hunter in the game, the Vols lost a major weapon in their passing game and lacked another true deep threat outside of Da'Rick Rogers, who had five catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.

The immediate affects of Hunter's absence was in Tennessee's confidence. The Vols looked drained during the first couple of drives after he left.

"It was clear that it was a break in your spirit when you saw it happen," Dooley said. "The whole team saw it happen. You have to move on. I could tell when he went down that it had an effect on our team. It is an effect and you have to come out of it and play out of it because it is part of the game.

"It is very unfortunate, but that is the way it is."

Tennessee showed that it has some weapons at wide receiver, with freshman DeAnthony Arnett having a game-high eight catches for 59 yards. Tight end Mychal Rivera also had five catches for 71 yards and a touchdown.

Those were nice stats, but none of Tennessee's other receivers are as talented as Hunter and if he is out for a significant amount of time, it could really hurt this offense. Quarterback Tyler Bray, who is very gifted, now faces the challenge of making some of those unproven receivers better in a hurry.