Nov. 14, 2009
BY DREW EDWARDS
OXFORD, Miss. -- Before Tennessee's defensive line took the field on Mississippi's first possession of the second half, they talked about making a big play.
And as they have several times this year, they delivered. This time, tackle Wes Brown picked off a screen pass to give the offense the ball back and a short field.
"Coaches put me in the right place at the right time, and I recognized it was a screen," Brown said. "He threw it right to me. I was just blessed to be in the right position to make the play."
But unlike nearly every other time this year, the Vols couldn't turn that turnover into points during a 42-17 loss at Ole Miss on Saturday.
Entering Saturday's game, the Vols had turned 18 of 19 opponent turnovers into points. They've feasted on miscues the last two weeks in particular.
On Saturday, though, that lone turn turnover proved a turning point. Just in the other direction.
Four plays after taking over at the Rebels' 43-yard line, Tennessee couldn't convert a fourth-and-4 and gave the ball right back without scoring any points.
"I thought the game really turned at that point right there," UT coach Lane Kiffin said. "That was the real turning point. Up to that point, we're exchanging blows with them."
Thompson Update: Linebacker LaMarcus Thompson returned to Knoxville with the team after being evaluated at Baptist Hospital in Oxford.
Thompson suffered a shoulder stinger for the second time this season and was on the field for several minutes late in the fourth quarter before being carted off the field. He was released at the hospital after passing tests to evaluate his head and neck.
According to Kiffin, it was the same shoulder as the first stinger.
"It was worse than it had been before," Kiffin said. "The doctors seemed to be pretty optimistic."
Kiffin said the Vols missed Jackson.
"That's not an excuse," Kiffin said. "The question is did we miss him? Sure we did. He's a great player."
Tyler Wolf also saw some action at safety for the Vols, his most extended work of the season outside special teams.
Crompton Climbing the Charts: Quarterback Jonathan Crompton's two first-half touchdowns moved him into third all-time on UT's single-season touchdown passes list.
Following Saturday's game, Crompton needs just four touchdown passes to overtake Clausen, who threw 27 passes as a senior in 2003.
Pregame Meeting: Former Ole Miss great Archie Manning spent a few minutes during pregame warmups talking with UT coach Lane Kiffin on the field.
Kiffin said last week that Manning was one of several people he consulted with before accepting the job at Tennessee last November.
Cottam For Six: Tight end Jeff caught his second career touchdown pass against Ole Miss on a 16-yard completion from Crompton in the first quarter.
His only other career touchdown came against Kentucky in 2007.