Nov. 25, 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, great defense, taking the ball away at an impressive pace and a look ahead at UT's most-contested rivalry.
First Down: 90 - Rushing Yards Surrendered by Tennessee
The Tennessee defense not only had its best statistical performance of the season against an SEC opponent, but the best against a conference foe in nearly two years.
We'll start on the ground where UT held Vanderbilt to 90 rushing yards on 39 carries, the lowest total by an SEC opponent since the Commodores also rushed for 90 yards in Neyland Stadium in 2011. The performance marked the first time the Vols held a conference team under 200 yards rushing since holding Kentucky to 167 last season and the first time under 100 yards since the aforementioned Vandy game in 2011.
UT has now held two opponents this season under 100 yards on the ground after Austin Peay gained just 79 in the season opener. It was a season low for rushing yards for Vanderbilt and the second time in 2013 that the Commodores had been held under 100 yards rushing, with Texas A&M limiting them to 95.
In total defense, the Volunteers surrendered 285 yards, second-fewest this season after Austin Peay picked up 211. It marked the first time UT had held an SEC team under 300 yards of total offense since doing it in back-to-back games against Vanderbilt (283) and Kentucky (217) in 2011. It was the lowest total in an SEC game since that 217-yard performance against the Wildcats.
Second Down: 4 - Turnovers forced by Tennessee
Tennessee forced four turnovers, pushing the season total to 24, the most since recording 28 in 2010.
Brian Randolph recorded his team-best fourth interception of the year, the 14th by the Volunteers, the most since 18 in 2010. The Vols have intercepted a pass in seven of 11 games this season.
On the fumble recovery side, Tennessee is also partying like it's 2010, matching that team's output of 10 fumble recoveries. The Volunteers forced three Vanderbilt fumbles, an impressive number by any standard, but even more so when you consider that the Commodores had lost just two fumbles all season heading into Saturday's game. The Vols had not recovered three fumbles in a game since a win over South Carolina in 2009. Tennessee had just five fumble recoveries a season ago.
Third Down: Quick Hits
45 - Kick Return Yards for Devrin Young, which moved him up a spot from fifth to fourth on the all-time kick return list at Tennessee with 1,196, passing David Oku (1,175). He needs 11 yards to catch Corey Larkins (1,307) for third and is just 658 yards from Willie Gault's all-time record.
246 - Consecutive games the Volunteers have scored, thanks to Rajion Neal's touchdown in the second quarter. UT was last shut out by Florida on Sept. 17, 1994.
5 - Yards on Rajion Neal's second-quarter touchdown run. The TD was his 11th of the season and 18th of his career. Neal's 11 scores are the most for a Vol running back since Tauren Poole also ran for 11 in 2010.
95 - Rushing yards for Neal. He missed out on his fifth 100-yard game in 2013 by just five yard but needs just 10 yards next week to become UT's first 1,000-yard rusher since Poole ran for 1,034 in 2010.
2,029 - Career rushing yards for Neal, who moved past Stanley Morgan for 14th on the all-time rushing list. He needs 32 yards to catch Aaron Hayden for 13th and 62 to reach Charlie Garner for 12th.
48 - Career starts for Ja'Wuan James, tying a Tennessee record for offensive linemen. James is also tied for most appearances for a Vol offensive lineman and can break both records by starting next week at Kentucky.
53 - Passing yards for UT, the fewest in a game since throwing for 21 in a win over Vanderbilt in 2008. The Vols had 16 passing yards before the final drive. If the Vols had remained with 16, it would have been the lowest total since 1963, when UT threw for 9 yards in a win over Vanderbilt.
Fourth Down: A Look Ahead
108 - Meetings between Tennessee and Kentucky, the Volunteers' most-contested rivalry.
27 - Wins over Kentucky to one loss since 1985. 2 of the last three games in Lexington have gone to overtime.
14 - All time wins on Nov. 30, the next time UT takes the field. This will be the first time since 2002 the Vols have played on the date, a 24-0 win against Kentucky. Tennessee last lost on the date in 1911, 12-0 to Kentucky State and will look to continue the streak when the Volunteers close out the season in Lexington and it's once again Football Time in Tennessee!