Goodbye, October ... and good riddance

Whether this proves to be a ''November to Remember'' or not, the Tennessee Vols are glad to see October in their rear-view mirror.

The Big Orange endured one of the worst Octobers in recent program history this fall -- blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead before subduing Arkansas 41-38 in six overtimes, losing at Georgia 18-13 and losing at home to Alabama 34-14.

The Vols got November off to a good start Saturday with an 18-10 defeat of South Carolina. They'll face Miami, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Kentucky before the month is through.

''Obviously, there is a sense of relief to finally get October over with,'' Vol offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said. ''October wasn't a very good month for us. It wasn't quite as bad as one year I remember, when we went 0-for-October ... didn't have a win the whole month.''

That was 1991, when Tennessee sandwiched two open dates around an October 12 loss at Florida (35-18) and an Oct. 19 loss to Alabama in Birmingham (24-19). The Vols also had a disastrous October in '92, beating LSU 20-0 before suffering consecutive losses to Arkansas (25-24), Alabama (17-10) and South Carolina (24-23). That three-game skid cost Johnny Majors his job.

For what it's worth, Phillip Fulmer won 24 of his first 25 October games as UT's head man -- a span that ran from 1993 through the 1999 season. He has struggled a bit since then, going 2-1 in October of 2000, 2-1 in October of 2001 and 1-2 in October of 2002.

As happy as Sanders was to see October pass into history, the coordinator was even happier to see Tennessee get back on the winning track after back-to-back losses.

''I'm happy with the win,'' he said. ''I'm happy for the kids, happy for the program, happy for all the coaches. It was just a good win.''

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