After struggling to produce points in the first nine games, however, Sanders was understandably relieved to see his troops light up the scoreboard for a change.
''There was some relief Saturday on the sidelines,'' he said. ''If we do it three or four weeks in a row, then maybe you have a little more relief on Monday. Until it happens consistently, I don't think anybody can relax or let up.''
As a coach, Sanders must keep things perspective. He says the players share his low-key approach, however. They aren't letting the big outing vs. MSU go to their heads, either.
''The guys feel good about themselves,'' he said, ''yet they saw on film that there's still plenty of room for improvement.''
After stalling on its first possession of the Mississippi State game, Tennessee scored touchdowns on seven of the next nine, building a 49-7 lead. The Vols settled for a field goal on the next possession, then added another TD, giving them eight touchdowns and a field goal in their first 12 possessions.
''I was excited about starting fast, excited about scoring that many points,'' Sanders said. ''Probably the most exciting thing to me was the fact we didn't have any turnovers, we only had one penalty and one sack -- and that was the intentional grounding, which counted as a penalty AND a sack. It was a screen where they tackled our tailback, so there was nothing to do but throw it away and hope they don't call it.
''I don't consider that a sack or a penalty, so really we played the game without a sack, without a penalty and without a turnover. That was the most encouraging thing.''