Tennessee-Georgia game that will be played later on this year inside the walls of the mighty Neyland Stadium. I thought I would allow my imagination to take you a little deeper into one aspect of the upcoming football year."> Tennessee-Georgia game that will be played later on this year inside the walls of the mighty Neyland Stadium. I thought I would allow my imagination to take you a little deeper into one aspect of the upcoming football year.">

The Philips Player of the Game is...

A few weeks ago, Jeffery took you into the final minutes of the <A href="http://tennessee.theinsiders.com/2/112301.html"><FONT color=#ff9900>Tennessee-Georgia game</FONT></A> that will be played later on this year inside the walls of the mighty Neyland Stadium. I thought I would allow my imagination to take you a little deeper into one aspect of the upcoming football year.

Every Saturday following a Vol performance, you can just hear Bob Kesling say, "It's time to announce the Philips Player of the Game and Tim Priest who made the difference today? Well Bob, today Tennessee got big boost from…" Whether you are listening to headphones as you are leaving the greatest stadium in college football, celebrating by running laps around the house in a not-so-sober mode or just sitting by the grill enjoying another W for the Big Orange, most of us Tennessee fans are happy when this moment comes in the Vol Network football broadcast.

Names such as Heath Shuler, Peyton Manning, Tee Martin, Carl Pickens, Al Wilson, Peerless Price, Reggie White, Jamal Lewis, Andy Kelly, Dale Carter have all garnered this honor to name just a few. Only the best to wear The Orange get this, so let's see who it is going to be. {Note: This is purely speculation, but it is fun speculation at that. Hope you enjoy.}

Game 1 Fresno State Casey Clausen: 19-of-27 296 yards, 3 TDs

Game 2 Marshall Mark Jones: below

Game 3 Florida Kevin Burnett: below

Game 4 South Carolina Casey Clausen: 25-of-36 361 yards, 4 TDs

Game 5 Auburn Constantin Ritzmann: 4 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, 1 sack and a fumble recovery

Game 6 Georgia Michael Munoz: 3 pancake blocks, team gains 3 rushing TDs off left side

Game 7 Alabama Casey Clausen: below

Game 8 Duke James Banks: 3 catches for 64 yards 1 TD, 6-of-10 passing 83 yards

Game 9 Miami Kevin Simon: below

Game 10 Mississippi State Troy Fleming: 4 rushes for 37 yards, 3 catches for 41 yards 1 TD

Game 11 Vanderbilt Gerald Riggs Jr: 18 carries for 143 yards, 2 TDs

Game 12 Kentucky Derrick Tinsley: 5 catches for 93 yards, 2 TDs

SEC Title Game vs. Auburn Cedric Houston: below

FedEx Orange Bowl Game vs. Ohio State Rashad Baker: 5 tackles, 1 tipped pass, 1 interception

Oh that's it you ask. Well here are the top 5 performances that we are going to see next season:

 

5) Mark Jones vs. Marshall

6 catches for 121 yards 1 TD, 1 rush for 51 yards 1 TD

*Highlights of the Day*

During the summer Mark Jones through down an exciting quote. "My best attribute as a receiver is making something happen." Judging by the second game of the season, he wasn't exaggerating. On the second offensive series of the game for Tennessee, Clausen fakes a handoff to Houston and throws a deep fade pattern to Jones (ala Peerless Price). The catch results in a 46-yard touchdown reception for Mark. After catches of 16, 7 and 24 yards in the first half, Jones makes the play of the day during the early stages of the third quarter as he takes a double reverse 51-yards for a touchdown. For the rest of the second half, the senior receiver would add two more catches of 16 and 12 to establish himself as a big-time playmaker for the rest of the young 2003 season.

 

4) Cedric Houston vs. Auburn (SECCG)

25 carries for 171 yards 2 TDs

*Highlights of the Day*

Houston had a weak performance against Auburn in the first meeting down on the plains. Houston fumbled twice and cost the Vols 10 points off of his turnovers on October the 4th. The eastern rematch in the Dome proved to be much better for Ced. He broke loose for a 53-yard toss on 2-and-8. He would later cap the drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. On the first series alone, Houston would rush 6 times for 67 yards to go along with the first score of the game. Cedric would finish the first half with 13 carries for 98 yards with the TD. The second half of the contest wouldn't be as lucrative for Houston as the first. He would be held to 73 yards on 12 carries, but did slice through the Auburn defense to score a 14-yard touchdown from inside the orange zone.

 

3) Kevin Simon vs. Miami

9 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 fumble recovery

*Highlights of the Day*

The redshirt sophomore would make his presence felt against the ACC-bound Miami Hurricanes on this day. The legions of Vol fans that traveled all the way to Coral Gables would see Simon make play after play on defense. On Miami's first possession, Simon would sack Brock Berlin to force a punt from the Canes. Kevin also added 4 tackles as the teams went into halftime.

When the lights came on in the stadium, so did number 5. He picked up a Fred Gore fumble at the Miami 46 yardline and ran it back to the 31-yard line thus setting up an eventual Cedric Houston touchdown run. Late in the 4th quarter with Miami facing 3 and 9, Simon got his second quarterback sack of the day. Berlin was flushed out of the pocket by Constantin Ritzmann and Kevin was there to wrap up the Cane QB for a 6-yard loss. Simon's effort from his linebacker spot was great, but it would not surpass an earlier season effort from the guy who lined up beside him.

 

2) Kevin Burnett vs. Florida

13 tackles, 1 sack and 32-yard interception (TD)

*Highlights of the Day*

The 2003 captain was a little irritated back in March when Curtis and Chris Leak made an appearance in Neyland Stadium to watch a team scrimmage. Burnett was able to take a few of those frustrations as Chris Leak made his first start for the 2-1 Florida Gators. During Florida's first seried, on a 3 and 6 from the Gator 29-yard line, Burnett swims past Gator O-tackle Max Starks and drops Leak for a 6-yard sack that forces Zook to put his punt team onto the field after their first three plays. That would set the proverbial tone for the day although it wasn't to be Kev's "Play of the Day."

During the third, Burnett picked off a screen pass from Leak that is intended for tailback Ran Carthon. Burnett hits open field and takes the interception back 32 yards for six points. He is flagged for 15 penalty yards after performing the Gator Chomp in the back of the endzone in front of the Florida Alumni section. The junior also has a game-high 13 tackles.

 

1) Casey Clausen vs. Alabama

23-of-32 for 361 yards 3 TDs, 2 -yard rush for 1 TD

*Highlights of the Day*

Of late, Tennessee quarterbacks have had a field day against the Alabama defense. Who can forget Peyton Manning, Tee Martin and even Clausen rolling off left tackle for an easy six points. Manning beat the Tide three straight years and Martin did so twice. Clausen's history with ‘Bama maybe more special for him because he made his first start at UT against Mike DuBose and squad that resulted in a 20-10 win for Tennessee. The 2003 finale for Clausen against the Dixie State's University would be no different.

Alabama gave the football to Tennessee to open the game and it would prove to be the move that would put them behind for good. Clausen was a perfect 6-for-6 on the opening drive that resulted in a 1-yard Jabari Davis touchdown dive. After a punt from Alabama on their first series, Clausen picked up a quick 41 yards on first down by hitting true freshman Jayson Swain who was streaking across the middle of the field. The drive resulted in a James Wilhoit field goal that would make the score 10-0 Tennessee. Clausen would be 8-of-11 passing in two series for 95 yards in the first quarter alone.

The second quarter would prove to be Casey's best. Tennessee would have the ball 12 minutes of the second quarter and Clausen's numbers would balloon. He would complete 10 passes for 102 yards with 2 touchdowns. The first score would come on a slip screen to C.J. Fayton that would be taken 22 yards to pay dirt. Tony Brown would catch Clausen's second TD of the half on a 18-yard fade pattern in the corner of the endzone in front of the ‘Bama student section.

The highlight of the came for Tennessee fans came in the second half. The "California Kid" would add a 11-yard touchdown pass to Mark Jones 5 minutes into the third quarter. The moment of celebration came with 8:12 left in the game. Clausen faked a handoff to David and rolled around the left side for a 2-yard touchdown rush that would end the Tide's chances. The win gives Clausen a 3-1 record vs. Alabama in his career. The win would propel the Vols into the front running in the SEC championship race.

Well there is my best guess at the individuals who will step up and shine this year on the gridiron. If I turn out to be wrong, I told you not to bet with this. If I am right, well I told you to take this to the bank. Now seeing these stats, head over to VolAccess to take a best guess at how the team faired during this imaginary season. I will show you the results in due time. I will tell you that their final record is 11-3. You go from there. Good luck.


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