Vols neuter Bulldogs 59-21

What follows is a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of Tennessee's lopsided defeat of Mississippi State Saturday at Neyland Stadium:

1ST QUARTER

RECAP: After a three-and-out on its first possession of the game, Tennessee scored a touchdown on its second. The four-play, 45-yard drive was set up by an 18-yard Mark Jones punt return. Casey Clausen hit Jason Swain for 25 yards, then hit Chris Hannon for 18 and the score. Mississippi State pulled even on an eight-play, 79-yard drive. The big plays were a 27-yard pass from Kevin Fant to Nick Turner and a 19-yard TD toss to Justin Jenkins. Tennessee quickly reclaimed the lead, marching 80 yard in 11 plays. Clausen hit Mark Jones for 14 yards to open the drive. Derrick Tinsley picked up 12 on a reverse and Clausen hit C.J. Fayton for 12 on third-and-seven at the Vol 49-yard line. Clausen capped the drive with a 12-yard TD pass to Tinsley.

KEY PLAY: On third-and-eight at the MSU 43-yard line, Clausen hit Swain for a crucial 25-yard gain. He found Hannon for the game's opening touchdown on the very next play, giving the slow-starting Vols a much-needed boost.

KEY PLAYER: Tinsley and Clausen (tie). Tinsley gained 12 yards on a flanker reverse and caught a 12-yard TD pass on UT's second scoring drive. After an 0-for-3 start, Clausen connected on seven of his next nine passes for 97 yards and two TDs.

KEY STAT: Tennessee, which had scored just 21 first-quarter points in its first eight games, scored 14 first-quarter points in this game.

2ND QUARTER

RECAP: Tennessee scored on its third consecutive possession by driving 80 yards in nine plays. Clausen hit Jones for 20 yards, Swain for 23 and James Banks for 13. Jabari Dagvis got the TD on a two-yard plunge as UT went up 21-7. Tennessee did nothing on its next two possessions but marched 67 yards in seven plays on possession No. 6 to go up 28-7. Swain made a superb catch for a 14-yard gain and Clausen subsequently found Jones on a 38-yard TD pass. UT safety Gibril Wilson intercepted at the Vol 27-yard line on the next-to-last play of the half.

KEY PLAY: On third-and-five near midfield, Swain made a spectacular diving catch of a tipped pass for a 14-yard gain. Tennessee scored three plays later to go up 28-7.

KEY PLAYER: Mark Jones. The senior receiver/safety caught passes of nine and 20 yards on UT's first TD drive of the quarter and grabbed a 38-yarder that produced Tennessee's second touchdown of the period.

KEY STAT: Clausen's halftime stats showed 16 of 26 for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Without drops by Jones and Banks, he would've been on pace for a 500-yard passing game. By the half, Tennessee had gained 267 total yards, 97 more than it managed a week earlier in FOUR quarters vs. Miami.

3RD QUARTER

RECAP: Tennessee scored on its first possession of the second half, zooming 89 yards in six plays. Jabari Davis found a gaping hole at left tackle and raced 42 yards. Clausen subsequently found Hannon with a 30-yard TD pass for a 35-7 lead. O.J. Owens blocked a Mississippi State punt moments later, and Troy Fleming recovered at the Bulldog one-yard line. Davis scored on a dive, and it was 42-7. Suddenly clicking, Tennessee scored in just three plays on its next possession. Clausen hit James Banks for 50 yards and one play later found Hannon again on a five-yard fade route to cap a 55-yard drive and build the lead to 49-7. The second Clausen-to-Hannon TD connection gave Casey a share of the school record for single-game passing TDs (5) and gave Hannon a share of the single-game record for receiving TDs (3). Marvin Mitchell intercepted Fant on MSU's next scrimmage play and Tennessee marched from its 30-yard line to the Bulldog 9, at which point James Wilhoit nailed a 26-yard field goal, padding the lead to 52-7. The big plays on the drive were a 14-yard run by Fleming and a 14-yard pass from Clausen to Swain.

KEY PLAY: The 30-yard strike from Clausen to Hannon boosted the lead to 35-7 and ignited a 24-point third-quarter explosion by the offensively challenged Vols that put the game away.

KEY PLAYER: Hannon. The sophomore wideout caught TD passes covering 30 and five yards, giving him three for the day to tie UT's single-game record.

KEY STAT: Tennessee outgained MSU 204 yards to minus-5 and outscored the Bulldogs 24-0 in what surely ranks as the Vols' outstanding period of the season. The Vols averaged nearly 11 yards per play during the quarter, picking up their 204 yards on just 19 snaps.

4TH QUARTER

RECAP: The Vols scored on their first possession of the quarter, then called off the dogs. Backup quarterback C.J. Leak moved the Big Orange 63 yards in 11 plays -- the key play being a 16-yard completion to Hannon that carried to the MSU 24-yard line. Backup fullback Will Revill got the TD moments later on a 13-yard burst up the middle, and it was 59-7 with 9:08 remaining. MSU got a couple of late touchdowns against Vol scrubs. Fred Reid rambled 36 yards and backup QB Kyle York hit Antonio Hargro with a 31-yard pass to spark the first drive, which ended with a one-yard plunge by Reid. A two-point conversion pass closed the gap to 59-15. MSU scored again in the closing minutes after Nick Turner returned a punt 34 yards to the Vol 29-yard line. York completed three passes in a row and eventually sneaked across for the score with 28 seconds left. Another two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the score at 59-21.

KEY PLAY: Leak looked like a first-teamer when he rolled to his right and zipped the 16-yard strike to Hannon on third-and-three at the Bulldog 40-yard line. Tennessee scored five plays later to go up 59-7.

KEY PLAYER: Fred Reid. Mississippi State's reserve tailback carried seven times for 39 yards and caught a 10-yard pass, scoring one TD and setting up the other in the Bulldogs' late rally.

KEY STAT: After gaining just 181 yards in the first three quarters, Mississippi State gained 101 against Vol scrubs in the final period.


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