#7 AUBURN TOPS TENNESSEE, 55-23
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --
Tennessee's difficult schedule continued on Saturday as the Vols faced
their fifth Top-10 opponent of the season and third in as many games.
In front of a sellout crowd of 102,455, Tennessee suffered a 55-23
defeat at the hands of #7/10 Auburn.
The Tigers' explosive
attack on offense and special teams was on display all afternoon.
Auburn piled up 479 yards of total offense and 312 return yards. The
Tigers also ran for 444 yards, the most against the Vols since Alabama
had an opponent record of 457 in 1986. Auburn scored touchdowns on both
kickoff and punt returns.
The Vols offense under the
direction of freshman signal caller Joshua Dobbs had 354 yards on
offense. Dobbs combined for 178 yards of total offense with 128 passing
yards and 50 rushing yards.
Senior tailback Rajion Neal had his sixth career 100-yard rushing game finishing the game with 124 yards.
Vols' Ray Guy Award semifinalist Michael Palardy was a weapon all day
as he has been for the Orange & White all season. The senior tied
his career-high with three made field goals (39, 42, 40) while punting
5 times for a 46.6 average.
Freshman receiver Marquez North had five catches for 58 yards while Pig Howard had four catches for 13 yards.
quarterback Nick Marshall ran for two TDs (7, 38 yards) and threw for
another score. He accounted for 249 total yards with 214 on the ground
and 35 through the air. His 214 rushing yards are the fourth-most by an
opposing player in the history of Tennessee football. The record of 217
is shared by Mike Pritchard (Colorado, 1990) and Bobby Humphrey
Tailback Tre Mason ran for three
touchdowns (13, 4, and 1 yards) as he galloped for 117 yards in the
game, the first time the Vols have let up two 100-yard rushers in a
game this season.
Auburn's quick strike offense was in
full effect in the first half as the Tigers held the ball for just
7:51, but built a 34-20 halftime lead as Auburn scored five times, with
the longest possession lasting just 1:43.
With the game
tied at 13, Chris Davis returned a punt 85 yards to put the Tigers
ahead, 20-13 with 9:51 left in the first half. It was the longest punt
return in Auburn history since 1970. Less than four minutes later
Marshall finished off a 6-play drive (all of which were rushes) for 85
yards with his own 7-yard rush, putting the Tigers ahead, 27-13.
Jacques Smith got the Vols back within one score with his first-career
interception, which returned 18 yards for a touchdown. That cut the UT
deficit to 27-20 with 1:28 left in the half.
But 37 seconds later Marshall ran for his second TD of the day from 38 yards out to put the Tigers up 34-20.
opened the game with a scoring drive for just the second time all
season and first since the opener vs. Austin Peay (Aug. 31) as Dobbs
guided the Vols into Auburn territory. Palardy finished the drive with
a 39-yard field goal, 4:03 into the game giving UT a 3-0 lead.
took a 6-3 lead on 25-yard pass from Marshall to C.J. Uzomah. Daniel
McCullers blocked the second PAT of his career to keep the Tigers at
six points. Auburn's Cody Parkey missed a PAT for just the second time
in 111 career PAT attempts.
Palardy finished an 11-play drive with a 42-yard field to tie the game at 6-6 with 3:26 left in the first quarter.
Vols took a 13-6 lead on the first play of the second quarter as Rajion
Neal tip-toed and then high-stepped into the end zone for a 17-yard
score. But Auburn answered two plays later as Tre Mason ran in from 13
yards on the heels of a 62-yard rush by Marshall. The Tigers needed
only 32 seconds to tie the game, 13-13.
The second half
began with Corey Grant returning the opening kickoff 90 yards to put
Auburn ahead 41-20. After Palardy added his third field goal of the
game from 40 yards, Auburn answered with Mason's second score of a day
on a 4-yard rush. That put the Tigers ahead, 48-23.
third score of the day gave Auburn a 55-23 lead. The Tigers finished
the game at the UT five-yard line on fourth and goal when time expired.