Tennessee 24, Vanderbilt 10

Tauren Poole rushed for 99 yards and the game-clinching

touchdown and Tennessee kept its slim bowl hopes alive under

first-year coach Derek Dooley with a lackluster 24-10 win over

Vanderbilt on Saturday night.

Vanderbilt (2-9, 1-7 Southeastern Conference) threatened with a

late touchdown, but Tennessee (5-6, 2-5) sent the Commodores to

their sixth straight loss when Poole took advantage of a failed

onside kick to rip off a 28-yard touchdown run with 1:11

remaining.

Tennessee won its third straight game for the first time since

2007 and must beat Kentucky next Saturday to clinch bowl

eligibility.

Tyler Bray threw for 232 yards, but struggled for the first time

since taking over as starter three weeks ago with two

interceptions. That didn’t stop the Volunteers from beating the

Commodores for the fifth straight time and 27th of 28 in the

series.

As expected in a game featuring the SEC East’s two one-win

teams, neither squad was particularly sharp.

Bray got off to a fast start, and early on, looked like the

fabulous freshman who guided Tennessee to 102 points in wins over

Memphis and Mississippi by throwing for 648 yards with eight

touchdowns and no interceptions.

He completed nine of his first 10 passes and gave the Volunteers

a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter with a a 15-yard

touchdown pass to Justin Hunter in the first quarter and a 20-yard

scoring pass to Denarius Moore.

He killed Tennessee’s next two drives with interceptions,

though, then had trouble connecting with his receivers the rest of

the way, finishing 16 of 27.

Tennessee also lost a touchdown when defensive tackle Malik

Jackson’s late hit on Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith wiped out

Gerald Williams’ interception return for a score.

While the offense struggled to find consistency, the defense

took advantage of several Vanderbilt miscues.

The Commodores missed out on points thanks to a missed field

goal and a blocked field goal in the first three quarters, then

lost a chance to tie the game late when a wide receiver stepped out

of bounds before catching a touchdown pass and Jared Funk was

intercepted at the goal line a few plays later.

Vanderbilt quarterbacks threw two interceptions and were 20 of

41, continuing a season-long trend of completing less than 50

percent of their passes. Starter Larry Smith was pulled late in the

game for Funk after completing just 11 of 27 passes for 76

yards.

Gerald Jones caught six passes for 80 yards for the

Volunteers.