Oct. 21, 2013
By Brian Rice
Each week, UTSports.com takes a look at the numbers from the weekend past and the weekend ahead in Four Downs. This week, Michael Palardy does it all, a big day against a ranked team and another impressive performance on defense.
First Down: 19 - Yards on Michael Palardy's Game Winner
It wasn't his longest field goal or any other statistical milestone in yardage or makes or even attempts. But the senior added another accomplishment to his best season as a Volunteer by adding a very big "1" to a new stat column: "Game Winners"
It has indeed been Palardy's finest year in orange, having already broken or is on pace to break every single-season career best. He has handled every kick UT has taken, field goals, punts and kickoffs.
The game winner Saturday was his eighth field goal of the year, just one away from his career high of nine, reached each of the last two seasons. He has reach eight on 10 attempts, a conversion percentage of 80%, well ahead of the pace for his career high of 75% set in 2012 (9/12).
As a punter, Palardy has been particularly effective. He knocked his second 60-plus yard punt of the season in the first quarter, one of two punts downed inside the 10-yard line on the day. He has four punts inside the 10 this season, nine in his career. Through seven games, he has one fewer punt than all of last season (35- 36), but has an average nearly a yard and a half higher (44.5-43.1) and has already equaled last year's mark of 16 punts downed inside the 20. With nine punts of 50-plus yards, Palardy is just four away from his 13 last season.
Second Down: 19 - Game Losing Streak Against Ranked Teams Broken
The win was a long time coming for this group of Volunteers, and it was appropriate for a long list of reasons that it came against the Gamecocks.
The last win over a ranked team was a 31-13 victory over USC 2009. Only five members of the 2013 Volunteers were on the roster for that game. J.R. Carr, Daniel Hood and Joseph Ayers all redshirted in 2009. Marlon Walls played in the '09 win, but recorded no stats. Greg King saw the most extensive action of his career in 2009, appearing in nine games, the biggest against South Carolina, where he recorded his first and only interception as a Vol.
Since the 2009 game, USC has been ranked in each of the four meetings between the teams, accounting for three of the 19 losses. In two of those games, including yesterday, the Gamecocks were ranked in the top-15 by the Associated Press. The win broke a 20-game losing skid against top-15 teams that dated back to a 2007 win over, you guessed it, South Carolina, who was ranked #15 when Tennessee claimed a 27-24 overtime victory in 2007.
Third Down: Quick Hits
1 - Wins in October. The win was the first in October since 2011, when the Vols defeated Buffalo, 41-10, on Oct. 1. The win was the first in an SEC October game since UT defeated USC on Oct. 31, 2009. UT was 0-4 in SEC October games in 2010 and 2011, 0-3 in 2012 and 0-1 in 2013 heading into Saturday's game.
10 - Scoreless quarters by the Tennessee defense in 2013 after recording two against South Carolina. The defense has been particularly stout in the fourth quarter, holding four out of seven opponents (Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, Oregon and USC) scoreless in the fourth. UT has allowed 28 fourth quarter points on the season.
102 - Receiving Yards by Marquez North. The effort was the 100-yard game by a freshman since Justin Hunter went for 114 yards against Ole Miss in 2010. North recorded a career-long 48-yard reception in the fourth quarter to set up a UT field goal.
12 - Carries for Marlin Lane in his return from injury. Half of his 12 carries went for five or more yards and four picked up first downs for Tennessee, including two on the game's final drive.
2 - Turnovers forced by the UT defense. The Volunteer defense has 17 takeaways in 2013, equaling the total in all of 2012. Tennessee has done it exactly the same as in 2012, with 12 interceptions and five fumble recoveries, just in five fewer games to this point.
1 - Interceptions by Cam Sutton, who now has two on the season, one of three players on the roster, along with Brian Randolph (3) and Brent Brewer (2) with multiple INTs. The pick was the first of the season thrown by USC quarterback Connor Shaw.
21 - Points scored by the Gamecocks, a season low. The previous low of 27 came in USC's season opener against North Carolina. Tennessee has held five of seven opponents (Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, Oregon, Georgia, South Carolina) to then-season lows in points scored.
384 - Yards of total offense by USC against the Tennessee defense, a season low, the previos low beng 406 in the season opener. The Gamcocks threw for a season-low 166 yards on another season-low eight completions. The 218 rushing yards was the second-lowest total, behind a 178-yard mark against Kentucky.
237 - Consecutive games in which Tennessee has scored, dating back to a 31-0 loss to Florida on Sept. 17, 1994.
4 - Wins at Neyland Stadium in 2013. Tennessee has won at least four games at home in eight consecutive seasons. The Vols have at least three wins in Neyland in 25 straight seasons, dating back to the 1988 season, when UT was just 2-4 at home.
Fourth Down: A Look Ahead
2 - The Vols have two wins all-time against the No. 1 team in the nation. Tennessee last knocked off No. 1 Auburn on Sept. 28, 1985, beating Bo Jackson and the Tigers, 38-20. Back in 1959, Tennessee stopped No. 1 LSU, 14-13. All-time the Vols are 2-9 vs. AP No. 1 teams, with four losses to top-ranked Alabama (1979, 1980, 2009 and 2012).
6 - Consecutive wins by Alabama in the series, the longest streak for Alabama since the Tide won seven straight from 1986-1992. Tennessee defeated Alabama seven consecutive times from 1995-2001.
9 - All time wins on Oct. 26, the next time UT takes the field. This will be the first time since 2002 the Vols have played on the date.
9 - Consecutive road losses in October. The last UT win on the road in the month was a 33-21 triumph over Mississippi State in 2007.
10 - Consecutive road losses overall, dating back to a 24-10 win at Vanderbilt in 2010, a streak UT will look to end on Saturday when the Vols travel to Tuscaloosa and it's once again Football Time in Tennessee!