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
Tennessee won its third straight game for the first time since
2007 and must beat Kentucky next Saturday to clinch bowl
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
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
Gerald Jones caught six passes for 80 yards for the