Game recap: Tennessee 7, Arkansas 49
Tennessee Stat Book
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — On a wind-blasted November night in the Ozarks, Tennessee football sank to a historic low.
Eighth-ranked Arkansas dominated the Vols in every phase Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. That included the scoreboard, which read 49-7.
And for the first time since the SEC was born in 1933, Tennessee is 0-6 in the standings.
Five of the six defeats were administered by ranked teams, three of them by top-10 teams.
None was more thorough than this one. The 42-point spread ranks second only to a 44-0 loss to Georgia in 1981 in the modern era.
"Give Arkansas a lot of credit,'' UT coach Derek Dooley said. "They put it to us.
"Not much you can say after a game like that.''
The Vols (4-6) briefly interrupted the onslaught with a second-quarter touchdown by Rajion Neal. For the fifth consecutive game, however, they failed to score in the second half.
The oddball statistic of the night was time of possession: Tennessee 37:06 to 22:54 for the Razorbacks.
But Arkansas (9-1, 5-1 SEC) works quickly.
A crowd of 72,103 watched the Hogs score on a one-play drive, a two-play drive and, finally, a three-play drive.
"That's what they do,'' said Dooley, "and they've been doing it with a lot of teams.''
One score wasn't a drive at all. In the first quarter, Joe Adams fielded a Tennessee punt, retreated and appeared to be trapped.
Wrong. Adams eluded a posse of would-be tacklers, escaped down the sideline and reeled off a 60-yard touchdown to put the Vols in a 14-0 hole.
Eluding Tennessee tacklers became a recurring theme as the Razorbacks piled up 499 yards of offense. The biggest chunk was Dennis Johnson's 71-yard run that deepened the hole to 21-0.
Even when the Razorbacks went to the reserves, they couldn't avoid the end zone.
De'Anthony Curtis added a 26-yard touchdown with 6:37 left, slashing through a UT defense that appeared to have thrown in the towel.
"We had a lot of big plays,'' said Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino. "I'm happy we were able to come out in the second half and score like we did.
"It was all about the seniors winning their last game in Fayetteville.''
Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011 // Buy this photo
For the Vols, it's all about winning a game anywhere, especially a league game.
Only one previous UT squad had lost six SEC games, the 1962 team that went 2-6.
Last year, Dooley's first, Tennessee opened 0-5 in SEC play, but won the final three league games.
The team that Arkansas drilled comes home to face resurgent Vanderbilt on Saturday night.
Looking for something to build on?
Marlin Lane had the season's longest run from scrimmage, 45 yards.
Austin Johnson snared his third interception in four games.
A smiling Tyler Bray was throwing passes during pregame warm-ups, indicating he could conceivably be back to face Vandy.
His stand-in, freshman Justin Worley, was 15-of-29 for 208 yards passing. Matt Simms played the fourth quarter when the cause was hopeless.
The cause wasn't hopeless yet as the second quarter played out. The Vols' final two drives of the first half were impressive.
The first ended with Neal's 11-yard touchdown run on an end-around to make it 21-7.
After Arkansas missed a field goal, the Vols staged a 15-play drive, reaching the Arkansas 5.
On third-and-goal, Worley, under pressure, threw a pass toward the end zone that was intercepted by Tramain Thomas with 31 seconds on the clock.
As the third quarter opened, two sequences killed any Vol hopes of making a game of it.
Worley got Tennessee into Arkansas territory only to see the drive sabotaged by — in order — a holding penalty, a sack/fumble out of bounds and then a 12-yard punt by Michael Palardy.
The Razorbacks took over at their 48 and quickly got on the scoreboard again via Johnson's 15-yard TD run to go up 28-7.
Next possession, Dooley gambled on fourth-and-2 at his own 40. Worley threw incomplete.
This time Arkansas went for it all on the first snap and got it when Wilson hit Adams in the end zone for a 35-7 lead.
The Razorbacks tacked on a pair of fourth-quarter scores, a 10-yard catch-and-run by Broderick Green and Curtis' bolt through the "no mas" defense.
Back at the beginning of the blustery evening, it was the Vols with the first chance to score.
Tennessee took the game's opening drive for a first down at the Arkansas 22 before things went awry. On fourth-and-13, Palardy lined up for a 40-yard field goal but instead rolled out and threw an incomplete pass intended for Channing Fugate.
The Razorbacks answered with an atypical 13-play drive, Wilson passing to Jarius Wright for the 7-0 lead.
The next two scores were home-run plays, the Adams punt return and the 71-yard Johnson dash.
At 21-0, Tennessee began its attempt to dig out of the hole. The Vols didn't get very far.
Now, in the bigger picture, they're in an 0-6 hole of historic proportion.