Tennessee Tops Fresno State 24-6

Tennesse opened up the 2003 season with a win at home over Fresno State, 24-6. Vols Quarterback Casey Clausen threw for two touchdowns, while running back Jabari Davis ran for 44 yards and another score in the win for the #12 (AP) Volunteers in Knoxville, Tennessee. Next up for UT will be the Thundering Herd of Marshall, who won 45-21 over I-AA Hofstra in Huntington, West Virginia, on Saturday.

Tennessee put up 433 yards in total offense, the most since the six-overtime game they won over SEC opponent Arkansas in 2002. The Volunteers, who had only two games with 200-plus yards rushing last season (against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt), put up 274 yards on the ground against the Bulldogs of the Western Athletic Conference. Cedric Houston led all rushers with 161 yards on only 19 carries, while Jabari Davis had 12 carries for 84 yards.

Claussen threw 31 times in the contest, completing 18 for 159 yards. He had two interceptions to go with the two scoring tosses. The first came early in the game, when Claussen hooked up with James Banks for a nine-yard score at the 12:26 mark of the first quarter.

He then hit Tony Brown at the 1:27 mark of the third quarter with a five-yard touchdown that gave the Vols a 21-0 lead. Other scores came on a Jabari Davis 44-yard touchdown in the second quarter and a James Wilholt 40-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter. Banks caught seven passes for 80 yards, while Brown had five for 25. Dustin Colquitt punted five times for a 41.0 yard per kick average.

The Bulldogs lost minus-one yard on 24 rushes, while backup quarterback Jeff Grady, who started in place of veteran quarterback Paul Pinegar who sat with an injury, hit 13 of 24 for 118 yards and no scores. He also lost 31 yards rushing. Fresno's leading rusher from last season, Rodney Davis (1,586 yards in 2002, a school record) had 13 carries for only 16 yards against the Vols defense.

Fresno did not score until seven minutes were left in the game, when they returned an interception for a 81-yard touchdown.

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