Vols go out with thud, 37-14

Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin reacts on the sidelines as the Volunteers play Virginia Tech during the Chick-Fil-A Bowl Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009 in Atlanta. UT lost the game 37-14.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin reacts on the sidelines as the Volunteers play Virginia Tech during the Chick-Fil-A Bowl Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009 in Atlanta. UT lost the game 37-14.

ATLANTA – New coach, but an old story Thursday night.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl ended the way every other Tennessee football game in the Georgia Dome has for the past decade.

The 12th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies thoroughly dominated the Vols in a 37-14 victory to keep Tennessee winless in the Dome since 1998.

That’s three SEC championship game losses, and, now, a matching set of three bowl losses.

Lane Kiffin’s first season at UT ends 7-6, disappointing a Tennessee majority in the sold-out Dome crowd of 73,777.

“Very disappointed in the outcome today,’’ Kiffin said. “For whatever reason we didn’t play well.’’

Virginia Tech (10-3) did, and finished with 10 wins for a sixth consecutive year.

Once Tech’s Ryan Williams scored from 1 yard out with 6:56 left in the first quarter, Tennessee trailed all the way except for an 18-second interval near the end of the first half.

Both UT scores came in the second quarter, a 4-yard run by Montario Hardesty and a 2-yard pass from Jonathan Crompton to Denarius Moore that tied it 14-14.

But the Hokies squeezed in a last-second field goal for a 17-14 lead at intermission and resumed their domination in the second half.

“We talked at halftime about being mentally tough and physically tough,’’ Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said, “and that’s exactly how I would describe Virginia Tech in the second half.’’

Tech’s four touchdowns all came on short runs, two by Williams, who was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor and David Wilson scored one apiece.

The Hokies stuffed UT’s running game — 5 net yards.

That miniscule total was arrived at by subtracting 55 yards on the six times Tech sacked Crompton.

Hardesty carried 18 times for 39 yards in his final game in a Tennessee uniform. The only daylight he saw was 79 receiving yards, most of them coming on a couple of screen passes.

“I was surprised we weren’t able to run the ball better,’’ said Kiffin.

Tech rushed for 229 yards and won the total offense battle by a 438-240 margin.

Crompton’s career ended painfully, being sacked hard on fourth-and-10 in the final minute. He was taken to a hospital after the game with concussion-like symptoms.

He managed 235 yards passing but also two turnovers — an interception and a fumble on a sack that set up Virginia Tech scores.

The first half ended on a bizarre note.

After UT’s touchdown tied it 14-14, only 9 seconds remained. Tech’s Taylor found Jarrett Boykin behind the Vol secondary for a 63-yard bomb. Boykin went down at the 3 and the scoreboard showed no time left.

Both teams headed to the locker room, but the officials brought them back, determining Boykin’s knee touched with 2 seconds left.

Tech’s Matt Waldron hit a 21-yard field goal — one of three on the night — and the Hokies took a 17-14 lead at halftime.

“We were expecting them to take a shot and for whatever reason we gave up the big play,’’ Kiffin said.

And they didn’t answer with any big plays in the second half.

The Vols got the ball first in the third quarter but couldn’t muster any momentum. Then the Hokies rammed a 74-yard drive down UT’s throat to make it 24-14.

Williams ran for the first 73 yards and Taylor scored on a 1-yard keeper.

“He’s a really good back,’’ said UT freshman safety Janzen Jackson. “He really pounded away at us.’’

To the tune of 117 yards on 25 carries before leaving due to an injury.

Next, Waldron kicked a 46-yard field goal to make it 27-14 with 13:33 left.

Tennessee’s chance to cut into the lead vanished when a wide-open Moore dropped what would have been a 59-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.

“That,’’ said Kiffin, “really took the wind out of our sails.’’

The Hokies then resumed the pounding, crunching out an 80-yard drive.

Williams had been helped off the field earlier but it didn’t slow the assault. Wilson finished the drive with a 3-yard TD to make it 34-14 with 5:14 to play.

On Tennessee’s first snap after the kickoff, Crompton was sacked and fumbled.

Tech recovered and added Waldron’s third field goal.

The evening began with Tennessee fans swarming downtown Atlanta in high spirits.

It didn’t take long after kickoff, however, for the Hokies to exert their will.

They dominated the first 18 minutes of the first half en route to a 14-0 lead.

Tech’s first score was set up when Crompton threw an interception to Rashad Carmichael that gave the Hokies good field position at the UT 44.

Crompton suffered through an awful first quarter in which Tech outgained the Vols 93-13 in total offense.

After the Hokies’ second score, a 1-yard Williams run, the total offense battle was 136 yards to 11.

Tennessee’s offense finally awoke, staging an 80-yard drive for Hardesty’s score to make it 14-7.

Then Janzen Jackson’s interception and 29-yard return put UT at the Tech 48 with 1:11 left in the half.

Crompton and Hardesty connected on a 47-yard screen pass, to set up the 2-yard score to Moore.

After the kickoff, there were only 9 seconds left, but that was enough for the Hokies to catch the Tennessee defense sleeping and scramble back into the lead.

The Vols would have no answers in the second half.

“This year was a great start for us,’’ said freshman linebacker Herman Lathers. “Just because we lost doesn’t mean it hurts our momentum.’’

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Comments » 363

HallowedHill writes:

Va Tech played a great game and definitely seemed to have more play makers. Hopefully we will be there soon. Time to get busy solidifying the class and get ready for next year.

MidTennVol writes:

Nice gameplan, Coach.

vol98champ writes:

Recruits, please help us.

tngivem6 writes:

The game was lost when Moore dropped a sure TD pass..then Crompton sacked..
Game OVER

imw8n4u writes:

Maybe I wont miss those senior O-lineman as much as I thought. We lost that game up front plain and simple.

creekroad writes:

Now who's drinking cool aide?

LEXKYVOLS writes:

This season has come to an end. After his smart mouth when he was hired I said I would wait until the end of the season to place judgment on Kiffin. Kiffin needs to humble himself this coming year and stop running his mouth – when he starts to win, then he can go back to talking smack!

And the way he said nothing to Beemer after the game that was a lack of class. Not proud to call him our coach!

dburgvet writes:

Someone explain the rule on contact to the head gear of the QB. Three years ago we intercept Chris Leake pass and return for a TD but was called back because or player touched the helment of Leake. Crompton head was knocked sideways and no call or commentary from ESPN.

CrankE writes:

UT missed too many opportunities to make this close or even competitive. Crompton's INT gave me flashbacks. Moore's drop of a sure TD pass was inexcusable. After Crompton's fumble late in the game, I couldn't help but wonder why in the world you'd have him lined up under center and not in the shotgun. (Kind of like a simple running play on 3rd and 24-or using the last timeout of the first half-as opposed to taking a 5 yard delay of game. Hello, you're punting the ball anyway.)

I can forgive UT for losing to a deeper, more talented VPI. But to come out of the gate as sloppy and uninspired as they did was just wrong. And so was being steamrolled in the third quarter.

And so ends this miserable decade.

Boaz writes:

Did anyone notice Kiffin's rudeness when he went to shake hands with Beamer? I thought he pushed his way through the rest of the VT coaches; must have just wanted to get out of there.

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

Came a long way this year ... still a long way to go. We'll get there.

247 -- Fear The Kiffin...

Whiskey_Wizard writes:

Whiskey River Take my Mind......Gentlemen, next year aint gonna be no better. We are so durn weak on O-Line. 2011, we may can make a run at an SEC Title. Next yr, if we can have a winnin season, I'll be happy.

kd45music writes:

in response to volsrock54:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are right on about the old man. He's not up to coaching against college offenses, and his son is not up to coaching period. the future could make for an Edgar Allen Poe plot.

Volunteerfan writes:

in response to tngivem6:

The game was lost when Moore dropped a sure TD pass..then Crompton sacked..
Game OVER

I think the game was lost when we gave up a 60+ yard pass with 9 freaking seconds left in the half. Instead of being tied at halftime with us getting the ball we are down by three. Nice Defense!!

govolshw writes:

lost it in the first quarter

tinknoz#660213 writes:

absolutely pathetic...no blocking,no catching,very little rushing....fundamentals....i could go on and on...

VolHooch42 writes:

Moore needs to call Fred Belitnitikof and get some frigging hand glue.
Game was over after that drop.

nashvolfan writes:

in response to LEXKYVOLS:

This season has come to an end. After his smart mouth when he was hired I said I would wait until the end of the season to place judgment on Kiffin. Kiffin needs to humble himself this coming year and stop running his mouth – when he starts to win, then he can go back to talking smack!

And the way he said nothing to Beemer after the game that was a lack of class. Not proud to call him our coach!

Great point. CLK was obviously upset with the way the Vols played, but the lack of sportsmanship at the end was classless. Outcoached and unsportsmanlike. Let's hope he learns from his mistakes. Go Vols!

tinknoz#660213 writes:

my grandma coulda caught that ball...she has no arms....

DennisVols writes:

Moore passes in the 4th qtr and all the receivers dropped more passes than they caught throughout the game. You can not win a game if you do not convert on those opportunties.
Keeping it Real
Go Vols!!!

volsbandit writes:

Oh well, Va Tech showed why they are ranked 11th, and we're not even ranked. By the way, was Monte Kiffin there tonight? It didn't look like it. Also, who was calling the bonehead running plays on 3rd and long, and the wide receiver screens early in the game? Surely it wasn't my man, Kif! Still though, can't wait till next year! Go Vols and Go Horns! Please hook the Crimson Turd guys!

ssgdebity writes:

We got our buts handed to us. We were way out of synch. We got outplayed on both sides of the ball. However looking on the bright side of things at least we made it to a bowl and had a winning season even though it was on a sour note. The better team won and that is why they are in the top 15 and we are not.

Greer_Vol_22 writes:

Was it me or did every series include 2 runs to the left for 1.5 yards??? Poor play calling, poor O-line play, and every linebacker was more out of position than Tiger Woods at an AT&T mobile phone store. Recruit well coach, long road ahead.

Saban_Palin writes:

Great performance Vols. Hope Janzen Jackson doesn't rob anyone outside the hotel. Are the ho-stesses out recruiting?

NorthwestVol writes:

I tried to think up a creative and positive post and failed. CLK is young and hopefully can learn, but this was a ugly job of getting a team ready for a bowl game. This effort was similar to those that got Fulmer fired.

Did Berry turn pro prior to the game? Is that why he gave his uniform to a freshman walk on?

bobbarbilly writes:

in response to Boaz:

Did anyone notice Kiffin's rudeness when he went to shake hands with Beamer? I thought he pushed his way through the rest of the VT coaches; must have just wanted to get out of there.

It was a classless exit for a head coach.

LanethePain writes:

in response to NobodyCares:

Came a long way this year ... still a long way to go. We'll get there.

247 -- Fear The Kiffin...

The guys on ESPN said Kiffin indicated the Vols would probably take a step back in 2010 - 11 compared to this season. Is that really acceptable?

516milesfromUT writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

arkyvol writes:

this game played out just about as i expected. va. tech deserved better competition. they are really a top ten--bcs type team. the vols are years away. i was hoping the vols would draw clemson or n.c. it would have been a more equal match. tonight sure wasn't.

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to FreeTDTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nope. Nadda. No way.

Let it go buddy. Fulmer is gone. This one is on CLK.

DennisVols writes:

Should have been Moore drops 2 TD passes

MoralVictory writes:

Merry Christmas to ME. Some can coach in the oressure packed SEC and some can't. Urban can, Lane not so much. Looking at your roster doesn't next year spell disaster? No linmen, no depth, new QB. Gators reload, Vols reinvent the wheel.

gwbask writes:

There were pluses and minuses. We sure didn't get our share of the breaks. Two glaring things that concerned me. Long pass with 9 seconds and our play calling. CLK needs to turn that over to someone else. I am ready for next season, but one that will be better than this years edition. GBO and Happy New Year to all Vol fans.

viper_vol writes:

in response to tngivem6:

The game was lost when Moore dropped a sure TD pass..then Crompton sacked..
Game OVER

Exactly!!!

twin942 writes:

in response to kd45music:

You are right on about the old man. He's not up to coaching against college offenses, and his son is not up to coaching period. the future could make for an Edgar Allen Poe plot.

I have to agree. I have been supportive of Tennessee football for over 30 years, but this flat out sucks. Monte got schooled tonight, and our offense was terrible (although I don't blame Crompton; all in all I thought he played ok). Bad defense, bad offense...hmmm...doesn't make for a good bowl showing.

I am tired of Tennessee not showing up for bowl games, especially at the Peach Bowl. This is flat out embarrassing. It isn't like we are playing in a BCS bowl every year. Jesus Christ, people think Les Miles is stupid and want to run him out, but his teams SHOW for bowl games. More than I can say for my beloved Vols. And let's just call it accurately - that is COACHING.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Now we know what is coming the game is over: Berry's announcement....

olozbal#646632 writes:

We lost to better players and better coaches. Kind of like a #11 team playing an unranked one. Results to match.

Begin rebuilding year #2.

orgbleglory writes:

in response to vol98champ:

Recruits, please help us.

All the Recruits in the World will not make up for this over-paid incompetent group of coaches...not to mention all the negativity they have brought to the program!!!

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Tn should have lost this game, but not by 23. hate it for the seniors who stuck it thru last season, coaching change and the 1st 4 games this year.

MoralVictory writes:

You all definitely desereved the Outback Bowl! hahahaha There really is truth to Lane's plea to recruits..they really should be able to play right away

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to bobbarbilly:

It was a classless exit for a head coach.

CLK has a lot to learn, but he is young and has time. Do you?

RomeoSullivan writes:

in response to CrankE:

UT missed too many opportunities to make this close or even competitive. Crompton's INT gave me flashbacks. Moore's drop of a sure TD pass was inexcusable. After Crompton's fumble late in the game, I couldn't help but wonder why in the world you'd have him lined up under center and not in the shotgun. (Kind of like a simple running play on 3rd and 24-or using the last timeout of the first half-as opposed to taking a 5 yard delay of game. Hello, you're punting the ball anyway.)

I can forgive UT for losing to a deeper, more talented VPI. But to come out of the gate as sloppy and uninspired as they did was just wrong. And so was being steamrolled in the third quarter.

And so ends this miserable decade.

This decade has one year left, Einstein.

creekroad writes:

in response to FreeTDTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kiffin could'nt hold Coach Fulmer jock strap you idot

VolsAllTheWay writes:

Come on guys, I am as disappointed as everyone else, but don't throw YOUR team under the bus. This year is exactly what we all thought it was, a rebuilding year. There will be more tough times ahead before it gets to where we all want it. Va Tech is simply more talented at this point. Congrats to VPI, but as for me, it is always an ORANGE day I am proud to be a VOL win or lose. Give Kiffin time!

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

(I can't wait for NSD to get past this bowl talk)

orgbleglory writes:

in response to beersheebavol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And if he has developed any throwing skills, will have an immediate impact...

516milesfromUT writes:

but seriously folks. we have walk ons, frosh, an inept special teams. the bright side really is that we will develope these kids. crompton did play well. o line caused the fumble, the pick was prety sh**y, hardesty was against 8 dudes, and we don't have a great bench. we are going to turn the corner. i am sad. but think of it as the end of this freakin decade, lets start the new one, happy new year Phil you fat piece of s**t. you kill us even still with your 3 star talent, jerkface. happy new year to all.

stratocaster54 writes:

It felt like Fulmer was still coaching!

volsbandit writes:

The whole game, the Vols were D-E-A-D. Players and coaches. They acted like they didn't even want to be there. It should have been the other way around. Va Tech deserved a much better bowl game against better competition. We should have been thankful to even be at the Chic-Fil-A bowl. After that performance, we should've stayed home. Very bad gameplan. Hats off to Beamer and his staff....he had them ready.

KFDLaw writes:

in response to volsrock54:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think we did the best we could with the players we have. Tonight's game is a reflection on Fulmer's recruiting, or lack thereof, in recent years. VT had more talent at every position and it showed. Our players could not match up with them. Next year may be worse than this year, because we are down a bunch of scholarships. Many of the players Fulmer recruited either walked away or flunked out, so we lose those scholarships. Instant gratification is not available on the Hill anytime soon.

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