Quarterly Report

Here's a quarter-by-quarter recap of Tennessee's 21-17 win over the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford.

1ST RECAP: Tennessee marched to touchdowns on its first two possessions to grab a quick 14-0 lead. The first drive covered 78 yards in nine plays. The big play saw Erik Ainge hit Tony Brown with a 25-yard pass to the Rebel 2-yard line. Jabari Davis got the TD on a dive play and it was 7-0 with 11:42 left. Ole Miss moved to its 45-yard line on its first possession, then Ethan Flatt was intercepted by Brandon Johnson, giving Tennessee possession at its 45. The Vol drive stalled but Dustin Colquitt faked a punt on fourth-and-seven at the Rebel 40-yard line and passed to Chris Hannon, who gained 19 yards to the Rebel 21-yard line. Gerald Riggs scored on the very next play, making a nice cut to his right after hitting a mass of humanity at left tackle. James Wilhoit's PAT made it 14-0 with 6:11 left in the period. KEY PLAY: The fake punt. Instead of getting the ball back with a 7-0 deficit, Ole Miss got it back down by 14-0. KEY PLAYER: Riggs. He rushed for 32 yards on Drive No. 1, then broke the big TD run on Drive No. 2. KEY STAT: Tennessee scored TDs on its first two possessions for the first time this season. 2ND RECAP: Ole Miss marched to the Vol 13-yard line on its first drive of the quarter but Jonathan Nichols missed a 30-yard field goal wide right. Neither team accomplished much offensively, then Jonathan Hefney muffed an Ole Miss punt and the Rebels recovered at the Vol 24-yard line. Quarterback Robert Lane rambled 21 yards on the first play and Brandon Jacobs scored from the one two plays later, closing the gap to 14-7 with 5:02 left in the quarter. Back-to-back completions from Ainge to Robert Meachem gained 22 yards (screen) and 21 yards, moving Tennessee to the Ole Miss 37-yard line but three incompletions -- two of which were nearly intercepted -- killed the drive. Tennessee got one final shot with 33 seconds left in the period but Tony Brown was tackled at the Rebel 15-yard line after catching a 25-yard pass from Ainge on the final play of the half. KEY PLAY: Hefney's muff. That turned a two-TD cushion into a seven-point lead. KEY PLAYER: Lane. His running ability (47 yards in the half) kept Tennessee off-balance and set up the Rebels' only touchdown. KEY STAT: Ole Miss kept possession for 11 minutes in the quarter, UT for just 4 minutes. Given the weakness of the Rebels' defense, playing ''keep-away'' was keeping them in the game. 3RD RECAP: Neither team could sustain anything until Ole Miss' third possession of the quarter. Taking over at their own 35-yard line, the Rebels got a 12-yard pass from Ethan Flatt to Mario Hill and a 10-yard run by Brandon Jacobs in moving to the Vol 24-yard line. The drive stalled but Jonathan Nichols nailed a 42-yard field goal, narrowing the gap to 14-10 with 5:02 left in the quarter. Vol backup QB Brent Schaeffer got a couple of series at the end of the quarter but had no more success than Ainge was having against a blitzing Rebel defense. KEY PLAY: Nichols' field goal ... by default. KEY PLAYER: Nichols. No one did anything significant all period, so his field goal was the highlight of a relatively quiet quarter. KEY STAT: Tennessee ran just 10 offensive plays all quarter. The Vols were 1 of 4 passing for 6 yards and ran the ball six times for 12 yards. That's just 18 yards of total offense. 4TH RECAP: Both teams continued to struggle offensively. Facing a third-and-15 at his 39-yard line, Ainge threw a screen pass into the left flat that was intercepted by Brian Brown and returned 36 yards for a touchdown to give Ole Miss a 17-14 lead with 11:01 left. Tennessee appeared to reclaim the lead when Ainge hit Robert Meachem on an apparent 70-yard TD play, but an official ruled that Meachem had stepped out of bounds at the Rebel 30-yard line. Replays showed otherwise. Regardless, on third-and-10 at the 30, Ainge hit Bret Smith in the end zone on a post route, and it was 21-17. Tennessee held and got the ball back with 4:30 to go. A holding penalty set up a first-and-20 at the Vol 30-yard line but Riggs ran for gains of 9, 8 and 5 yards to pick up a crucial first down with 2:36 remaining. The Vols stalled at this point and punted the ball back to Ole Miss. The Rebels took over at their 20-yard line with 1:05 remining but Brandon Johnson intercepted an Ethan Flatt pass at midfield with 59 seconds left to seal the victory. KEY PLAY: The pass to Smith. He was wide open but Ainge led him a bit too much. Smith laid out, however, and made a spectacular diving catch. KEY PLAYER: Riggs, Bret Smith and Johnson. Riggs' three runs to pick up the key first down chewed up valuable clock time. Smith's TD catch -- a thing of beauty -- was his fifth of the year. Johnson's interception was his second of the game and sealed the deal. KEY STAT: Ole Miss managed just six yards of total offense in the final quarter. Riggs finished with 23 carries for 109 yards, his third 100-plus rushing effort in the past four games.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories