Vol defense NCAA's second best?

If Tennessee's offense could've put together a time-consuming drive in the fourth quarter against Arkansas last October, the Vol defense might've finished the season ranked No. 2 nationally in fewest points allowed.

''Someone told me that if we could take the overtime points out of the mix -- and the touchdown that led to the overtime points in the Arkansas game -- we'd finish No. 2 in the country,'' head coach Phillip Fulmer noted.

Tennessee led 17-3 midway through the final quarter against Arkansas but the Hogs closed to 17-10 on a 10-yard run by D'Arrius Howard with 6:56 to play. A time-consuming possession by the Vol offense at this point would've sealed the victory but that was not to be. Tennessee ran three plays and punted.

Arkansas promptly tied the score on an eight-yard pass from Matt Jones to Brandon Smith with 3:30 left, then tacked on 21 more points in overtime, eventually losing 41-38 in six OTs.

As it was, Tennessee allowed a mere 197 points all season -- 16.4 per game -- to rank ninth nationally. Minus the Razorbacks' last touchdown of regulation and the 21 they produced in overtime, however, Tennessee would've allowed 169 points -- just 14.1 points per game.

Arkansas also produced around 165 of its 449 yards of total offense during its last scoring drive of regulation and its six overtime possessions. That would've lowered Tennessee's yards-per-game yield by roughly 14 -- from 285.8 per game to around 272 per game.


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