Mere seconds into the quarter Quinn hit Samardzija on a crossing route, and the 6-5 wideout sailed 74 yards to the Vol 3-yard line. Morley threw Thomas for a three-yard loss on first down and Jason Mitchell
sacked Quinn for an apparent five-yard loss on second down. The sack was nullified by an offsides penalty, however. Quinn fumbled on the very next play but Notre Dame recovered, enabling Quinn to hit Samardzija with a four-yard TD pass moments later, giving the Irish a 28-21 lead.
Ambrose Wooden intercepted Ainge on UT's ensuing possession and returned the ball to Tennessee's 34-yard line. D.J. Fitzpatrick eventually hit a 36-yard field goal, boosting the lead to 31-21.
Tennessee's offense stalled, then Zbikowski returned a punt 26 yards to the Vol 20-yard line. Fitzpatrick booted a 28-yard field goal, widening the gap to 34-21 with 4:01 remaining.
Ainge was intercepted by Zbikowski on the second play of UT's ensuing possession, and his 30-yard return boosted the score to 41-21.