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Tennessee NotesDecember 03, 2006
TENNESSEE IN 2006: Tennessee comes to the Outback Bowl with a 9-3 record and No. 16 in the BCS rankings. The Volunteers rank in the top three of the SEC in ten statistical categories including 2nd in Passing Offense, 3rd in Scoring Offense and 1st in Red Zone Offense. The Vols only losses came to SEC Championship game participants Florida and Arkansas, and to No. 5 LSU.
WELCOME BACK: This will be the second appearance by the Volunteers in Tampa’s bowl game. Tennessee defeated Boston College 38-23 in the 1992-93 bowl which at the time was called the Hall of Fame Bowl. It was Phillip Fulmers first game as head coach of the Vols. Heath Shuler, who was recently elected to the U.S. Congress, was the game MVP.
TENNESSEE TRADITION: This is the 110th year of football at Tennessee. The Volunteers have an all-time record of 760-315-53. Along the way the Volunteers have compiled five undefeated, untied regular seasons since 1896 including the 1939 season when they were un-scored upon (regular season). Tennessee has six National Championships and 45 bowl appearances. Twenty-two players and coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
TENNESSEE IN THE BOWLS: This is the 46th bowl appearance for the Volunteers which puts them in a tie for 2nd in all-time bowl appearances. Tennessee’s bowl record is 24-21, and those 24 wins place Tennessee 3rd in all-time bowl wins.
THE SERIES: Tennessee is 2-2 all-time against Penn State. The first meeting dates back to 1971 and the latest meeting was in 1994.
FEATURE PLAYERS: The Tennessee Volunteer offense is lead by QB Erik Ainge, the 2nd leading passer in the SEC with 208 completed passes for 2,722 yards, 19 TDs, only 8 interceptions. Ainge is also 2nd in the SEC and 11th in the country with a pass efficiency rating of 155.4. His top target is WR Robert Meachem with 67 catches for 1,265 yards and 11 TDs. Robert leads the SEC and is 3rd in the country with 105.4 receiving yards per game. A committee of running backs balance the air attack and includes RB LaMarcus Coker with 660 yards on 103 carries and 4 TDs; RB Montario Hardesty (104-382 yards, 4 TDs); and RB Arian Foster (79-257 yards, 5TDs).
The Tennessee defense is lead by DB Jonathan Hefney who is tied for 6th in the SEC and leads the team in tackles with 93. Hefney is also tied for 3rd in the SEC and leads the team with 5 interceptions. LB Marvin Mitchell has compiled 92 total tackles, a sack and an interception. Fellow LB Jerod Mayo has 82 tackles, a team high 5 sacks, and leads the team with 12.5 tackles for a loss.
The Tennessee special teams are led by their kicking specialist PK James Wilhoit, who ranks 2nd in the SEC and 12th in the country with 17 field goals, he is also the leading scoring kicker in the SEC with 92 total points and has made 41-42 PATs. Punter Britton Colquitt leads the SEC and is 8th in the country with an average of 45.0 yards per punt. DB Jonathan Hefney is third in the SEC in punt returns with an average of 12.8 yards.
THE COACH: Head Coach Phil Fulmer is in his 14th year at the helm of the Volunteers and has compiled a winning record of 137-76. Fulmer was the National and SEC Coach of the Year in 1998 and led that Tennessee team to its first 13 victories in a single season, which included an SEC championship and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl win for the national title.