Whether running the ball, stopping the run or controlling the clock, the Volunteers turned the tables on the Razorbacks in a 34-13 win in Neyland Stadium on Saturday.
Tennessee entered the game No. 11 in the Southeastern Conference in total defense but held Arkansas to just 289 total yards. Meanwhile, a Volunteers offense No. 2 in passing offense and No. 9 rushing controlled the action via the run -- outgaining the top-ranked Razorbacks 151-127 on the ground.
"We had (279) yards of offense, I wouldn't say that was a great offensive day," Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said. "But we did what we had to do to win the football game against a solid Arkansas defensive team and a great offensive team."
Tennessee set the tone early in improving to 6-0 at home for the first time since 1999, holding Arkansas to just 49 total yards of offense on 20 plays in the first half. One key for the Volunteers was time of possession. Tennessee had the ball for 20 minutes, 55 seconds in the half, compared to 9:05 for the Razorbacks.
Another was holding Arkansas' running back tandem of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to just 31 yards on nine carries. The duo combined for 487 yards a week ago in a 48-36 win over South Carolina, with McFadden's 321-yard performance sparking talk that the junior was back in the Heisman trophy hunt.
All that talk this week served as motivation for Tennessee junior running back Arian Foster, who finished with 83 yards on 13 carries on Saturday. Foster's 59-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter gave the Volunteers a 27-3 lead.
"Our running back motto this week was 'steal the show,'" Foster said. "That's what we lived by this week."
Tennessee senior quarterback Erik Ainge, who missed last season's 26-20 loss to Arkansas with an ankle injury, didn't control the action on Saturday, but he didn't have to. Ainge finished 12-of-25 passing for 128 yards, but he threw for two touchdowns and helped the Volunteers finish 7-of-16 on third-down conversions, including a 14-yard touchdown to junior Josh Briscoe with 10 seconds left in the first half that gave Tennessee a 20-3 lead.
"There were a lot of things we probably could have done (on offense)," Ainge said. "But you've just got to try and win the football game, throw the ball on third down, and it worked out for us."
With two games remaining, at home against Vanderbilt and at Kentucky, Tennessee still controls its own destiny. If the Volunteers win out, they would represent the East in the SEC championship game in Atlanta.
Vols Control Action In Win
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