VOLS TOP SOUTH ALABAMA 31-24
KNOXVILLE - Tennessee
moved to 3-2 on the season with a 31-24 victory over South Alabama on
Saturday afternoon. Brian Randolph's interception in the final minutes
secured the win.
The Vols overcame three of their own
turnovers, but in the end the Jaguars' third miscue of the game enabled
Tennessee to remain perfect at Neyland Stadium this season.
extremely hard to win in college football," said head coach Butch
Jones. "We needed to get to victory number three; we got to victory
number three. It's a difficult process, but we got there. I don't think
I've ever been in a game like that. You take goods and bads from it.
Positive, I'll look at the positive, this team found a way to win."
Neal ran for a career high 169 yards on 25 carries including a 53-yard
run that set the Vols up for a Marlin Lane score. Lane also added a
54-yard rush as a part of his 66 yards on the ground.
gained 278 yards on the ground. Butch Jones-coached teams are now 26-2
all-time in games where his teams run for 200-plus yards and 16-1 when
his squads go over 250-plus yards.
Justin Worley was 20
for 36 through the air for 204 yards with two touchdown passes. He did
throw three interceptions leaving room for a near comeback by South
The Vols' yielded a quick touchdown to the
visiting Jaguars as South Alabama quarterback, Ross Metheny, took off
on a 32-yard touchdown run on the opening drive.
was able to put points on the scoreboard after LaDarrell McNeil
intercepted a tipped South Alabama pass giving the Volunteers prime
position for a Michael Palardy field goal.
The Vols went on to score 21 more unanswered first half points giving them a 24-7 lead at the half.
Worley had a pair of first half touchdown passes to true freshmen A.J. Branisel and Josh Smith.
a beautiful play action pass, he found A.J. Branisel in the back of the
end zone wide open. On the next drive, Worley hit Smith in stride for
the Knoxville-native's first career touchdown catch.
touchdown receptions were the first of Branisel and Smith's career and
gave the Volunteers a lead that they wouldn't relinquish for the
remainder of the game.
The Vols continued to stride past
the Jaguars despite several turnovers. Lane's two-yard score after he
stretched over the goal line made it 24-7 Volunteers.
winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half, UT took their
initial second half possession into the checkerboards. Neal scored from
11 yards out after the Vols drove 76 yards on seven plays and used only
two minutes and 24 seconds of game clock to extend their lead to 31-7.
The touchdown would be the ultimate game-winner.
momentum shifted drastically however. The two teams traded turnovers,
giving South Alabama the ball inside the UT 10 yard line. Two plays
later, Metheny scrambled left and dove just inside the pylon for South
Alabama's second score.
The Jaguars scored 10 more points and drove to within eight yards of a game-tying score with just minutes to go in the half.
was all for naught though as redshirt sophomore Brian Randolph sealed
the Volunteer victory, 31-24, with an interception in the end zone with
just 1:51 left on the clock. A huge sack by Corey Miller on
second-and-goal pushed South Alabama back to the 14-yard line.
The interception was the third of Randolph's season and career. All three of Randolph's interceptions have come in the end zone.
Vol standouts include redshirt freshmen wide receiver Jason Croom who
had three receptions for 50 yards and true freshmen receiver Josh Smith
who reeled in three passes for 40 yards and his first-career touchdown.
two runs (by Lane and Neal) of more than 50 yards marked the first time
since the Volunteers faced Kentucky in 2000 that two different Vols
have had rushes of 50 yards or more in the same game. Travis Stephens'
80-yard rush along with a 53-yard scamper by Travis Henry helped the
Vols defeat Kentucky 59-20.