Vols quiet critics ... for now

Roundly criticized -- and often booed -- for their ineffective performances this fall, Tennessee's offensive players finally redeemed themselves a bit in Saturday's 18-10 defeat of South Carolina.

No Vol was happier about ending the criticism than tight end Jason Witten.

''It was frustrating,'' he said. ''That's tough. The biggest thing is, it tests your pride. As a man, you don't need your pride tested very often ... on the football field, definitely. That was very frustrating.''

The criticism might still be going strong if not for a 17-play, 90-yard touchdown drive that consumed 8:38 and padded the Vol lead from 12-10 to 18-10 with 6:19 to go in Saturday's game. Going back to fundamental football, the Big Orange ran the ball on 15 of the 17 plays.

''I kind of challenged the guys on that last drive ... let's get it done, control the line of scrimmage,'' Witten said. ''I think South Carolina's defense knows we dominated them on that drive.''


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