Quick-cap: Lions Win "Outback" 20-10

In a clash that predicted SEC speed against Big Ten power, the Nittany Lions managed to show the Volunteers their ability to run on defense by containing Erik Ainge's average per catch to 7.6 yards with no touchdowns, an interception and some coverage sacks, despite his 65 percent completion rate.

The expectations around the sports world were that, once again, the Nittany Lions would be pushing hard to keep up with the incredible speed of another southern bowl opponent. Penn State heard similar things last year against Florida State, and once again they surprised nay-sayers with a 20-10 win over Tennessee - their third consecutive bowl victory over the Volunteers. Previously the two teams met in the 1994 Citrus Bowl, where PSU won 31-13 and the 1992 Fiesta Bowl, where they won 42-17.

In this one, the Lions and Vols locked horns in a defensive battle which came down to field position and turnovers. Although Tennessee had the turnover margin edge on paper, the Nittany Lions ended up with three turnovers, including a go-ahead touchdown off a redzone fumble by Tony Davis and a key interception from Anthony Scirrotto. It was Erik Ainges first interception in 134 pass attempts.

Defensively, the Nittany Lions allowed Ainge to complete his short passes, with a 65 percent completion rate, but only allwed him to average 7.2 yards per pass. The defense also managed to grab a couple of key coverage sacks.

Justin King managed to shut down Robert Meachem, UT's top receiver, holding him to four receptions for 33 yards with a long of 12 yards.

The Penn State front seven also contained the Vols' lead rusher LeMarcus Coker to just five carriers for 36 net yards, although he managed a major 42 yard breakaway touchdown run in the closing moments of the first half.

Penn State had two offensive keys of the game with senior running back Tony Hunt, who got 31 carries for 160 yards (5.2 YPC) and junior quarterback Anthony Morelli, who went 14 for 25 (56 percent) for 196 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Morelli looked like a different player, showing poise, patience and consistent decision-making under center.

His favorite target was Deon Butler, who pulled in three balls for 73 yards, while Jardan Norwood had four catches for 35 yards and Derrick Williams had three receptions for 27 yards. Terrell Golden also had a clutch 35-yard pull-in to help Penn State sustain a late drive.

Stay tuned to FightOnState.com for complete coverage of Penn State's Outback Bowl victory over Tennessee.


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