Worley completed his first 13 passes of the second half in his first appearance since missing Tennessee’s final four games last season with an injured right thumb. He was 27-of-38 overall, connecting with 10 different receivers.
Worley threw touchdown passes to Brendan Downs, Von Pearson and Jalen Hurd, and his 27 completions were a career high.
Worley outperformed Utah State star Chuckie Keeton, who was playing for the first time since tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee last October. Keeton went 18-of-35 for 144 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Tennessee is relying heavily on a heralded recruiting class as it attempts to end a string of four straight losing seasons, and those newcomers wasted no time making an impact. By the midway point of the first quarter, Tennessee already had played 16 true freshmen, the most ever used by the Vols in a season opener.
Two of Worley’s three TD passes went to newcomers. Hurd is a freshman and Pearson a junior-college transfer. Todd Kelly Jr., another freshman, had a fumble recovery that set up a touchdown.
No. 10 Baylor 45, SMU 0: Bryce Petty threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score, helping Baylor open its riverfront campus stadium with a victory over former Southwest Conference rival SMU.
Petty played two quarters because of a bruise to his lower back after taking an early shot. He threw for 161 yards while moving gingerly at times and often grabbing at his back.
Big 12 champion Baylor (1-0) led 24-0 after one quarter. It had a 6-yard TD drive after an SMU fumble and a 4-yard drive after Levi Norwood’s 45-yard punt return.
The Bears sacked SMU’s three quarterbacks a combined eight times and held the Mustangs (0-1) to 67 total yards.
On the day a statue of Robert Griffin III was dedicated, Petty extended his streak with at least one touchdown pass to a school-record 14 games, breaking a tie with Baylor’s only Heisman Trophy winner.