Nov. 26, 2012
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, a couple of jersey numbers with big seasons, a look at a few season totals and the countdown is on to a major milestone.
First Down: 81 - Mychal Rivera
Rivera closed out his Tennessee career by hitting several impressive numbers against Kentucky.
Rivera made a reception for the 18th consecutive game. Over the last two seasons, Rivera has failed to catch a pass in just two games, LSU and Montana in 2011. He hit the 1,000-yard mark for his career with his 29-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. Rivera finished his UT career with 1,018 yards.
The touchdown catch, his fifth of the year, also helped to propel Rivera to the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 562. Until Saturday, Jason Witten held the UT mark with 493 yards in 2002. Ironically, Witten also had five touchdowns in the year he set the previous record.
Second Down: 45 - A.J. Johnson
Johnson's season was an impressive lesson in versatility. When the season began, few would have been surprised to hear that Johnson would end up leading Tennessee in tackles, which he did with 138. The mark was the highest total for a Vol since Jerod Mayo recorded 140 stops in 2007.
What might have caught more than a few fans and experts off guard about Johnson was that he also led Tennessee in rushing touchdowns with six. Johnson made his debut in the "Beast Package" against Florida, and scored a touchdown on his second career carry.
For the season, Johnson had 12 carries, meaning he averaged a score on every second carry. He ran the ball in seven games, failing to score in just one of those. Five of his six touchdowns came in SEC play, including scores against Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and Kentucky.
Johnson also pulled off a career-first on the afternoon, with his first sack as a Volunteer in the second quarter. He also finished with 11 or more tackles for the 10th consecutive time.
Third Down: Quick Hits
1,858 - All-purpose yards for Cordarrelle Patterson, a new Tennessee record. Patterson finished with 778 receiving, 671 kick return, 308 rushing and 101 punt return yards to surpass Reggie Cobb, who totaled 1,721 (1,197 rushing, 198 receiving and 326 kick return) in 1987.
5,711 - Total yards put up by the Tennessee offense, the second-highest total in program history. The team came up just 83 yards short of the 1997 Volunteers, who hold the record with 5,794, also coming in a 12-game season.
73 - Catches by Justin Hunter, the second-most in a season by a receiver in UT history. The junior also finished with 1,083 receiving yards, good for third place on the Vols' all-time single-season list. Hunter led Tennessee with nine touchdown receptions.
45 - Yards covered by Marlin Lane on a run on UT's opening drive, the longest rushing play of the year by a Tennessee running back. Patterson had a 67-yard run on a reverse in the opener against NC State. Lane led Tennessee on the day with 75 yards on 10 carries.
21 - Yards on Zach Rogers' touchdown catch on the opening drive. Rogers finished second on the team with seven touchdown receptions.
3 - Points scored by Kentucky in the second half. The total tied for the fewest allowed by UT in a half this season, after also holding Akron to three second-half points on Sept. 22
8 - Sacks allowed by the Tennessee offensive line in 2012, the fewest allowed in a season by a Volunteer line since the 2007 team surrendered just four sacks, a UT record.
4 - Touchdown passes for Tyler Bray, giving the junior 34 on the season, the second-best campaign by a Vol quarterback. Peyton Manning still holds the all-time mark with 36 in 1997.
Fourth Down - A Look Ahead
799 - Total wins in program history, eighth-most among Division I programs. The first win for the next Vol head coach in 2013 with be the 800th in Tennessee history.
3 - Consecutive wins by Volunteer head coaches in their first game at Tennessee. Derek Dooley defeated UT Martin, 50-0 in his debut and Lane Kiffin took down Western Kentucky, 63-7. Phillip Fulmer won his first game at Tennessee, however you choose to calculate it. Fulmer defeated Southwestern Louisiana, 38-3, in 1992, the first game credited to his career record, as interim coach filling in for Johnny Majors. Fulmer won the 1993 Hall of Fame Bowl, 38-23, over Boston College after being named head coach after the 1992 season. Fulmer also won his regular-season debut in 1993, 50-0 over Louisiana Tech.
278 - Days until Austin Peay comes to Neyland Stadium and it will once again be Football Time in Tennessee!