Ainge SEC player of week

Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge continues his impressive start to the 2006 season by earning SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He also was named CAREacter Star Athlete of the Week for his work off the field.

Ainge completed 24-of-29 passes for 333 yards with three touchdowns against one interception in Tennessee's 31-30 win Saturday over Air Force. The signal-caller had a string of 15 consecutive completions against the Falcons, five of which converted third down plays.

A junior from Hillsboro, Ore., Erik Ainge set career highs in the game with 24 completions and 333 passing yards. In the season-opening win against California, Ainge's four touchdown passes were a career high.

He stands as the Division I-A leader with a 226.6 pass efficiency rating and leads all three categories of the SEC triple crown for passers -- efficiency, yards per game (312.0) and total offense (313.0).

Off the field, Ainge has been just as successful. He earned Academic All-SEC honors in 2005 and regularly involves himself in team community service efforts. This semester, Ainge is participating in the VOLScholar Program for academic and citizenship-building and wears the VOLScholar logo on his uniform as the holder of a 3.0 or better grade-point average.

The CAREacter Program is based on a five-point star system that includes the basic traits of a true champion, whether on or off the field. Those traits are attitude, character, grades, community service and performance.

Every week the coaches from each school and specific sport will select one student athlete as their school's "Star Athlete of the Week" based on these five criteria. As a reward for their accomplishments, these students will be recognized each week by their local media and presented with a T-shirt and a letter acknowledging them as their county's "Star Athlete of the Week." "ONCE A VOL, ALWAYS A VOL" NOW AVAILABLE

Gus Manning and Haywood Harris, best selling authors of "Six Seasons Remembered," have released a new book, "Once a Vol, Always a Vol."

The duo's latest offering is a look back at 25 legendary former players and where life has taken them since their Volunteer playing days ended. Included in the book are stories about Jim Haslam, Doug Atkins, Hank Lauricella and Willie Gault. The foreword is written by Peyton Manning.

"Once a Vol, Always a Vol" is now in stores for $19.95. Proceeds from the book support UT athletics department scholarships.


The tackle by Tennessee defensive end Xavier Mitchell on Air Force's two-point conversion try has been nominated for a "Pontiac Game Changing Performance."

The play, which preserved Tennessee's 31-30 victory Saturday at Neyland Stadium, came with 1:35 left in the game as Chad Hall was attempting a sweep to the right. Mitchell stopped Hall at the 6-yard line and UT recovered the ensuing on-side kick for the win and a 2-0 start.

Now it's up to the Tennessee fans to determine if the Volunteer earned the "Pontiac Game Changing Performance" for the second week of the 2006 NCAA football season. UT fans can go to and view video clips of the four finalists and vote for their favorite play.

Voting ends Wednesday at midnight and ESPN will announce the winner Thursday night during the Pontiac Performance Halftime Report.

The winning university earned a $5,000 contribution from Pontiac to their general scholarship fund. Additionally, the winning play will be nominated for the "Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year," which earns a $100,000 scholarship to the school if selected by the fans in December.

New to this year's program is that each week, one lucky individual who visits also will win a $5,000 scholarship for themselves or their family. In total, Pontiac will provide more than $200,000 worth of scholarships to universities and individuals throughout the season.

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