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TENNESSEE POSTGAME NOTESJanuary 01, 2007
“Vols Hampered by Turnovers as Penn State Running Game Proves Tough to Stop"
The Vols entered the game ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the USA Today rankings; Penn State was unranked.
Tennessee-Penn State Series
Today’s contest marked the second meeting between UT head coach Phillip Fulmer and PSU coach Joe Paterno, with Paterno boasting a 2-0 advantage.
Phillip Fulmer’s Record
Fulmer now owns an 0-2 record against Penn State, a 3-2 mark against current members of the Big Ten Conference, and a 7-7 record in postseason bowl games.
The Vols have appeared in 14 bowl games in 15 seasons under Fulmer. Ainge Makes First Bowl Appearance
Junior quarterback Erik Ainge made his 23rd career start for the Vols. He now owns a 17-6 career mark as a starter.
Ainge set the Tennessee single-season record for completion percentage by completing 66.9 (233 of 348) percent of his passes this season.
Leading up to his third-quarter interception, Ainge had thrown 136 straight passes without a pick. It was the longest streak of Ainge’s career, and the second-longest in UT history. During the game, Ainge passed Peyton Manning’s streak of 132 passes without an interception, set in 1995. Casey Clausen holds the school record with a streak of 143 in 2003.
Ainge completed eight consecutive passes leading up to halftime. That streak tied for the third-longest completion streak in UT bowl history.
Swain Leads Vols’ Receiving Efforts
Junior tight end Chris Brown hauled in a career-long 53-yard reception during UT’s fourth quarter drive that ended with a lost fumble.
Coker Most Effective of UT’s Backs
Coker’s 42-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was his sixth run of at least 20 yards this season. It was UT’s longest rush in a bowl game since Donte’ Stallworth’s 42-yard rush against Michigan in the 2002 Florida Citrus Bowl.
Coker finished the season with an average of 6.4 yards per carry.
Noting the Defense
Sophomore strong safety Demetrice Morley blocked a 50-yard PSU field goal attempt with the score tied at 10 in the fourth quarter. It was the first blocked field goal of Morley’s career and UT’s first blocked field goal since the 2003 season (two blocked FGs at Alabama).
Tennessee’s game captains were seniors Turk McBride, Marvin Mitchell, Arron Sears, Jayson Swain and Justin Harrell (injured, did not travel).
Tennessee’s 10 points today marked its lowest scoring output since it scored three points at Alabama last season.
Dating to the 2002 season, Tennessee owns a 9-1 record in games that begin at noon or earlier, with today’s game marking the lone loss during that span.
Senior placekicker James Wilhoit finished his UT career ranking second on the school’s all-time scoring list with 325 career points. He ranks seventh on the SEC’s all-time scoring list. He had four points today.
True freshman Jacques McClendon made his first career start today, taking the place of injured sophomore Anthony Parker at the right guard spot. Parker started all 12 regular-season games at right guard.
Longtime UTAD staffer and current Executive Assistant to the Athletic Director Gus Manning attended his 40th consecutive Tennessee bowl game today, dating to the 1951 Cotton Bowl. Manning, who was hired by Gen. Robert Neyland, has seen all but six of Tennessee’s bowl games.
Erik Ainge’s 2006 Game-By-Game Passing Totals
2006 Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Lg