Clausen SEC player of week

For his second-half efforts in Monday's 30-27 win at LSU, Tennessee's second-chance man was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week.

Rick Clausen earned this week's nod after completing 21-of-32 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. He was 18-of-28 in the second half for 180 yards while also rushing for a score as the Vols rallied from 21-0 down at halftime and a 24-7 deficit in the fourth quarter.

"Rick has brought consistency and calmness to our offense and probably a comfort level for Coach (Randy) Sanders because he knows what he's going to get," head coach Phillip Fulmer said.

Clausen directed all of Tennessee's scoring drives, including Gerald Riggs' 1-yard TD run in overtime for the game-winner.

Clausen, the younger brother of former UT quarterback Casey Clausen, has made a history at Tennessee of maintaining his poise despite having been demoted from the starting position on more than one occasion. It was the second SEC weekly award in as many seasons for Clausen, who capped last year with a Cotton Bowl MVP performance against Texas A&M.


ESPN2's coverage of Tennessee's 30-27 overtime victory at LSU Monday averaged a 3.1 rating and more than 2.76 million household impressions, making it the network's highest-rated and most-viewed college football game in its 12-year history.

In addition, the telecast ranks as ESPN2's second highest-rated and second most-viewed program ever the Oakland at Boston MLB divisional playoff game Oct. 4, 2003 (3.6 rating, and 3.07 million households).

Monday's game originally was scheduled for Saturday but was postponed 48 hours because of concerns about Hurricane Rita.

Prior to Monday night, ESPN2's highest-rated and most-viewed college football game was the Virginia Tech at North Carolina State game of Sept. 4 (2.5 rating, 2.2 million households).

Tennessee's miracle comeback in Baton Rouge also has been dubbed an "Instant Classic," and ESPN Classic will re-air the game Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern time.


Tennessee began a short week of practice with a short workout Tuesday at Haslam Field, just hours after the team arrived home to hundreds of jubilant Vol students and fans in the early hours.

The Vols must count on their coaching staff to prepare quickly for Saturday?s 12:30 p.m. kickoff against Mississippi.

"I think we do a good job of taking the win, or if it were a loss, dealing with it," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "We've done that (Tuesday) and came out and corrected our mistakes. Now, we've got to fully turn our attention to Ole Miss.

"It is a short week; the kids are aware of it. We've got to be emotionally and physically ready to play, as well as prepared for what we might see. I think we'll be fine."

Tennessee improved to 2-1 on the young season, but more importantly evened its conference record at 1-1 and kept hopes alive for a race for the division crown. It took a 30-27 overtime win at LSU, but staying on course this early in the season was critical.

"I think we left a lot on the field last night with the effort in the game but I think this team is mature enough and excited enough right now that they understand they've created themselves an opportunity," Fulmer said. "It's what you do with that opportunity that?s going to be important."

Tennessee's 21-point rally -- the Vols trailed 21-0 at the half and 24-7 in the fourth quarter -- was the largest deficit the Vols have overcome to win since coming from 21-0 down at Kentucky for a 38-35 win on Nov. 17, 2001. It is doubtful Tennessee has ever rallied to win from 17 points behind in the fourth quarter and LSU officials said after the game that no LSU football team ever had lost a 21-point lead at Tiger Stadium.

INJURY UPDATE (Mississippi Week): Probable -- C/OG Rob Smith (knee); Questionable -- C Richie Gandy (knee), LB Jerod Mayo (knee); Doubtful -- DE Jared Hostetter (knee), DT Turk McBride (ankle); Out -- DB Jarod Parrish (knee).

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