Vols’ Crompton is SEC offensive player of the week

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP/The Loop) — Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton was named the Southeastern Conference’s offensive player of the week after a career performance in a 45-19 win over Georgia.

The 6-foot-4, 228-pound Waynesboro, N.C., native went 20 for 27 for a career-high 310 yards in the Saturday win. He threw four touchdowns and an interception for the Volunteers (3-3, 1-2 SEC).

Crompton and his receivers have struggled often this season, but coach Lane Kiffin pledged to stick with the senior regardless of his performance.

“That’s huge,” he said after the game. “Nobody wants to look over their shoulder and worry about it because that’s when you play timid.”

Crompton won the starting job after competing with backup Nick Stephens during spring and fall practices. The two alternated as starter throughout last season under coach Phillip Fulmer, who at times pulled one quarterback in the middle of a game in favor of the other.

Crompton turned in his worst performance of the season against UCLA in week two when he went 13 for 26 for 93 yards and threw three interceptions but no touchdowns.

He’s gradually improved since as the wide receiving corps, which has been riddled with injuries this season, got healthier and improved timing with the quarterback. His previous career high came against Auburn on Oct. 3 when he threw for 259 yards.

Crompton’s pass efficiency rating for the season was 114.2 entering the game and 107.2 for his career. Against the Bulldogs (3-3, 2-1) his efficiency rating was 212.

Before his third-quarter interception, he attempted 88 passes without a pick.

“If we get our passing game on the same page and guys make plays, that helps a quarterback a ton and gives him confidence,” Kiffin said. “You saw that as the game went on. You saw him start forcing some balls in there in a good way because he had confidence the guys would make plays.”

Tennessee is off this week before traveling to No. 2 Alabama (6-0, 4-0) on Oct. 24.

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