One more for bowl game; Dooley not impressed by turnovers

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray is sacked by Vanderbilt defensive tackle Colt Nichter during the first half Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010 in Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.

Photo by Michael Patrick

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray is sacked by Vanderbilt defensive tackle Colt Nichter during the first half Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010 in Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.

Game recap: UT 24 vs. Vanderbilt 10

NASHVILLE - The game within a game Saturday night seemed to revolve around which team could make the most mistakes. Call it a dead heat.

Tennessee won the game on the scoreboard, outlasting Vanderbilt 24-10 before an orange-hued crowd of 37,017 at Vanderbilt Stadium.

Tennessee's third consecutive victory improved the Vols to 5-6, 2-5 SEC, although, artistically, it fell far short of the wins over Memphis and Ole Miss the past two weeks.

Tauren Poole's 28-yard touchdown run with 1:22 to play put the finishing touch on a sloppy, error-prone contest that saw both teams sabotaged by turnovers.

Each side also had a touchdown wiped out by a penalty.

"We didn't look like us in a lot of areas,'' said UT coach Derek Dooley.

"You're gonna have games like that in a season. The key is finding a way to gut it out and we did that.''

And in doing so the Vols kept their hopes of bowl eligibility alive headed into the regular-season finale against Kentucky next Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.) at Neyland Stadium.

A victory would send Tennessee, at 6-6, back to Nashville to play in the Music City Bowl, according to prevailing SEC bowl scenario speculation.

"We're not going to come back here if we don't beat Kentucky,'' Dooley said.

"If we play the way we did today, we'll get beat 50 to nothing by Kentucky.''

The Vols gave away three turnovers - one, inevitably, on a muffed punt return - and were hit with an uncharacteristic nine penalties.

The most costly one wiped seven points off the scoreboard.

Gerald Williams intercepted a Vanderbilt pass in the third quarter and rumbled about 75 yards for an apparent touchdown.

The play came back, though, because Malik Jackson was flagged for a personal foul, a late hit on quarterback Larry Smith.

Two scores that didn't come back were Tyler Bray touchdown passes in the first half.

He found Justin Hunter for a 15-yard score in the first quarter and Denarius Moore for 20 yards in the second.

But he also threw two interceptions.

"I knew it was a game that was going to be harder for him (than Memphis or Ole Miss), because it required a lot of decision-making,'' Dooley said.

Daniel Lincoln's 28-yard field goal in the fourth quarter gave the Vols a 17-3 lead to protect.

And they did, barely.

The Commdores (2-9, 1-7) completed an apparent touchdown pass that was wiped out by a penalty because receiver Jordan Matthews stepped out of bounds on his route, then came back in to make the catch.

Moments later Janzen Jackson's interception at the 2 and 42-yard return with just under six minutes left preserved the 14-point lead.

Not for long. Back-up quarterback Jared Funk marched Vandy 74 yards, hitting Matthews for a 16-yard touchdown pass. UT's lead was cut to 17-10 with 2:33 to play.

Tennessee recovered an onside kick and managed to spring Poole for the clinching touchdown on a fourth-and-2 play.

Tennessee led 14-3 at the half and blew a chance to add to it in a scoreless third quarter.

It was a miserable period for the Vols, with two turnovers, five penalties and the nullified touchdown.

When Anthony Anderson became the latest Vol to muff a punt return early in the third quarter, Vandy took over at the Tennessee 20.

Two plays later, defensive end Williams intercepted a Vandy pass and had clear sailing for the touchdown that might have been a knockout punch.

However, the flag brought it back.

The Vols got no points and Vanderbilt kept the ball at the UT 11. When Ryan Fowler missed a 25-yard field goal, the score stayed 14-3.

Bray then threw his second interception of the game. This time the Commodores marched into UT territory only to see Williams block a Fowler field-goal attempt from 45 yards.

Tennessee drove for a first down at the Vandy 12 but came away with only Lincoln's three points with 12:57 to play.

The first half saw Tennessee dominate until Vanderbilt claimed momentum in the final five minutes with a crucial turnover, a methodical march and a Fowler field goal as time expired.

Bray was sharp passing in the half, directing a pair of 80-yard touchdown drives.

Bray finished his third start at 16-of-27 passing for 232 yards.

The Vols managed 360 yards of offense and only 128 of that came running the ball.

"We just stink at running the ball,'' said Dooley.

Poole finished at 99 yards, one short of becoming the first Vol to rush for 100 yards seven times in a season.

He'll get another shot against Kentucky.

Vandy warmed up in the fourth quarter against a tiring UT defense to finish with 333 yards.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com or 865-342-6276 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              865-342-6276      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 110

TNdogboy writes:

Would rather be humbled by Vandy and step up to KY

1volfanatic writes:

1 more win next week and we go bowling. Focus and practice hard this week. Beat them Cats!!!

196SVol writes:

I can't believe they shut down the telecast before they presented the State Championship Trophy!!

Vol_Doc writes:

Wow, hope they get the kinks ironed out by next week. Was a tale of two halves.

TNdogboy writes:

Receivers dropped a few and judging by Bray's reaction I thing the one interception might have been a wrong route. Still feel good about Bray.

Go Vols! Work hard this week.

Vol_Doc writes:

Wonder what rationalization we'll here from VandyGrad (a.k.a., CantStandSaban).

Vol_Doc writes:

Er, 'hear,' that is.

Clad_In_Big_Orange writes:

Good Job TN, Vanderbilt got VANBOOZLED!

TNdogboy writes:

Does anyone know how many yards Poole had?

Tru138 writes:

Whew!

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to Vol_Doc:

Er, 'hear,' that is.

I dont know but I hope it ends with "fear the dores" thats so funny.

fshnhol writes:

Tennessee looked flat as h*ll. They better pick it up next week, or they can kiss a bowl game goodbye.

LimeyVol writes:

Long-term I think this might prove to be very useful. There was a danger Bray and co. might become over-confident. Not any more. Fully focussed for next week!

LaneBrains writes:

Funny how the team turns it around when CDD plays our guys. Always remember, if in doubt trust the judgement of the greatest coaches in the history of college football!

BTW, Hammy we used this month's paycheck for a family party planned on Catalina Island...deep fried turkeys. ; )

CLK, Monte and Ed

stompintheswamp2 writes:

in response to Vol_Doc:

Wonder what rationalization we'll here from VandyGrad (a.k.a., CantStandSaban).

I wouldnt be surprised if he disappears a while.

RockyTopBoy writes:

in response to TNdogboy:

Does anyone know how many yards Poole had?

Poole had 99 yards.

RoadTrip writes:

An ugly W is still a good W. This should be a wake-up call for them against UK. CDD will have plenty of plays to send to the league office for review of the officials performance.

I hope CJC picks up on the fact that Bray needs to have some safe audibles to call for when teams stack 8-10 guys in the box when we 3 wide-outs in the game. Trying to run the ball with 6-7 blockers against 8-10 defenders is a pain in the tail; especially when he called a run on first down so much of the time.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

Congrats to Vandy players for playing us tough. More important, congratulations to our team for playing tougher. Way to play, G-Dub.

HtownVol writes:

Another horrible 2nd half!

Can we get the team some of those focus pills on TV? O-Line had a very bad game.
Bray did not put heat on his throws when he needed to. Cunningham had his worst punts of the year. M Jackson had a stupid penalty. A Anderson continues to give the ball away on punt returns (just dont send a returner back!).

This kind of play will not fly vs UK. The streak alone does not mean a W. It will be the biggest game of the year from UK, I promise that. Cobb will be paying his last game in Knoxville so he will go all out.

I did not like the play calls on the runs. JC made a big mistake running up the middle so many times. Poole is best when he runs outside and can make a cut.

I am seeing D Rogers get better each week. He is becoming a good catcher and very good after the catch. Get The ball to our WR's more. This is a great set of WR's. The last 2 games we scored a lot because we spread the field and tossed it all over. Tonight we went away from tha after the 1st qtr...WHY? JC went to the run up the middle (Fulmer ball), but it did not work at all.

I hope we have a good gameplan for next week. It is the biggest game of the year for both teams. If we win it will be huge for next year! This game is more important than most realize. The extra 4 weeks would be so important for the young guys.

GO VOLS!

volpreacher writes:

in response to TNdogboy:

Does anyone know how many yards Poole had?

99

TNdogboy writes:

in response to RockyTopBoy:

Poole had 99 yards.

So close....1 lousy yard, thanks

orangebloodgmc writes:

And John Adams' team (whoever is playing Vols) loses yet again. Ha ha ha. Wallow in it, Johnny-boy. But hey, how 'bout them Tigers? Looks like they and Ole Miss were pretty evenly matched.

OrangeBlur writes:

Great win at Haslam Field West tonight.

GBO

DutchOrangeVolsOrange writes:

It wasn't pretty, but I'm sure I speak for most Vol fans in saying: We'll take it! I hope the Vols step it up several paces next week or there will be no bowl game. On another note, Ole Miss played LSU tough all day today. I think back to last week's win over an Ole Miss team that is talented, but just a little down in momentum. I think it will take the same kind of effort to beat the Cats!

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to Vol_Doc:

Wonder what rationalization we'll here from VandyGrad (a.k.a., CantStandSaban).

He'll probably just go on and on about how bad we suck because we only beat them by 14.
All I really want to hear from that jerk is who is the sole occupent of the celler now.

volpreacher writes:

As a coach told me once, there are no ugly wins. A win is a win. OUr young guys read too many press clippings and if we were to have a bad game, tonight was the best time to have it. We will beat Kentucky next week.

Vols7Twins writes:

Look on the bright side. Vandygrad said by Vegas odds that we would lose by 14. so, we really won by 28.

Vol_Believer writes:

Man, If it were up to the refs we wouldn't have pulled this one out . Good job as a team to be resiliant and pull together as a whole !

spoolingup writes:

Nothing sounds as good in Music City as Rocky Top out on West End!! Same 'ole Vandy!!!

shorttail writes:

Always enjoy a win, but they don't play any better than they did in their first game of the year. Go Vols! Beat Kentucky.

nwcs writes:

I think they got a small dose of reality this week (as we usually do with Vandy). Next week I hope they come out focused!

Bleed_Orange_n_Ky writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

p66ayers#1376155 writes:

Good game VOLS. Alittle nerveous a few times but all ended well Young guys are steppin it up some.Bray is looking better as is most of our players.get us a win this week. Holding your feet to the fire for a win

rockytopatl writes:

in response to orangebloodgmc:

And John Adams' team (whoever is playing Vols) loses yet again. Ha ha ha. Wallow in it, Johnny-boy. But hey, how 'bout them Tigers? Looks like they and Ole Miss were pretty evenly matched.

Adams picked Tennessee to win, 38-14. He picked the winner, but missed the spread.

volpreacher writes:

Just looked at the standings and you know what? Had we not messed up in the LSU game we would have had a chance to finish second in the east tied with Florida.
Oh well if's and butts were candy and nuts......
We won and didn't play well at all. So I'm happy. A win is a win no matter what.

shorttail writes:

in response to TNdogboy:

So close....1 lousy yard, thanks

poole should have gotten that 1 yard on the several 3rd. and 1 chances he had

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

Sometimes no matter how good or bad you are, you play to the level of the opponent. Probably the case tonight. Seen too much positive in recent games to think otherwise. Come on Vols, have a great week of practice and lay it all out against the Kitties. Another month of practice and another game pays big dividends next year. Orange thru and thru. GO VOLS!

VolinCalif writes:

Well guys in the M.St and Old Miss games our Defense wasn't on the field this long. It looked to me like another game where we just burned out in the second half. That tells me we had better have a offence ready next week. If we do we will trounce Ky just like O.miss if not well watch out.

Sovol writes:

Great telecast..I believe the CSS cameras were in Neyland stadium as far away as they were from the action. Great crew of high school refs also. On second thought I don't want to insult high school refs. They would have done a much better job calling this game.

crutch1966 writes:

whew.. that was UGLY. and whats up with jantzen jackson trying to bring back the 1/2 jersey?

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

A W is a W, period.

utjunkie writes:

Hope we got the bad game out of our system this week. We need a good game on both sides of the ball next week! Anything less and we will be in trouble against that offense in blue.

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Who is in last place, all by themselves?

Down_The_Field writes:

life is good.

FWBVol writes:

I didn't get the game here in Fort Walton Beach on Directv, and besides I had to be at a high school basketball tournament. I think I'll skip watching the rerun on ESPN3 and wait for the Derek Dooley Show on Wednesday.

There are two big things about this win. And as others have said, there are no ugly wins. But I will say some wins are prettier than others.

First, this win does keep our bowl hopes alive. Now we are down to a one-game season to get an invite for the holidays.

Almost as important, especially from a historical perspective in all of college football is the win assures us that even if we do fall to Kentucky next week, Tennessee and Ohio State are still the only two NCAA BCS schools that have never lost eight games in a season. Even at our worst we are good for five wins in a 12-game season.

No other team in the SEC can claim it hasn't lost eight games in a season at least once.

Now take care of business next week boys and get ready to do a little bowling football style.

jacob0391 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

how can anybody talk about vandy and tennessee being close in talent. YES WE PLAYED BAD 3 turnovers. And still won by 14. We have no speed what are you talking about man are your stupid. We have plenty of speed. What we don't have that bama, lsu, gators etc IS CALLED DEPTH. Before you make a dumazz comment lets wait three years atleast thanks. O yea LSU there so fast wow. THEY BARELY beat a team we smoke last week ..did you forget, must of.

steelersman42 writes:

in response to TNdogboy:

Does anyone know how many yards Poole had?

He had 99 yards.

wyomingvol writes:

in response to TNdogboy:

Would rather be humbled by Vandy and step up to KY

Just curious, wouldn't you rather win both?

GO BIG ORANGE.

steelersman42 writes:

GO VOLS!!!

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I detect the pride in your words of being the perennial cellar dweller of the SEC. Maybe yall will sign your coaching staff to a long term contract in the offseason so that you may be assured of never losing the status of Worst Team in SEC. Yall should have known yall were in trouble when Lionel Richie left. GO VOLS!

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