South Beach was a perfect travel destination for the Titans on Sunday. In a return to action, Jake Locker lead Tennessee (4-6) to a, 37-3, victory over the Dolphins (4-5). Three defensive interceptions by linebackers Colin McCarthy, rookie Zach Brown and Akeem Ayers allowed Tennessee to play with a considerable lead, something they haven’t done too often in 2012.
“I thought that our defense put us in great situations all game. We were able to put some good drives together offensively and put points on the board, find ways to score in the red zone against a team that is really good in the red zone,” Locker said. “And that was the difference in the game."
Running back Chris Johnson surpassed the century mark for the second straight game, rushing for 126 yards, off of twenty-three carries and a score. Gaining momentum heading into their bye week, Locker and the Titans will have ample amount of time to get healthy and prepare for a three game divisional stretch that includes Jacksonville, Houston and Indianapolis.
Derek Dooley’s seat was set ablaze on Saturday afternoon against Missouri. It took four overtimes and fifty-one points to keep the Tennessee Volunteers (4-6) winless in the SEC as they fell to the Tigers (5-5), 51-48. A failed fourth down attempt set Mizzou up for the clinching field goal in a game that saw 1,039 total yards.
“We played our tails off. We had a lot of opportunities to win the game. A lot,” Dooley said. “On all phases we didn’t get it done. We had a fourth down at the end and didn’t execute on offense in the second half. And eventually we just wore down.”
With two games remaining against in-state rival Vanderbilt and 1-9 Kentucky, Tennessee will look to end the season on a good note and try to gain bowl eligibility if they can win both games.
Nothing official has come out and said that Dooley will not retain his job next season but look for news to break in the near future. Dooely is 4-18 in the SEC as Tennessee head coach.
For the first time in school history, the Vanderbilt Commodores will make back-to-back bowl appearances. A 27-26 victory against Ole Miss (5-5) on Saturday gave Vandy (6-4) their sixth win of the season.
Quarterback Jordan Rodgers connected on a twenty-six yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Boyd with under a minute to play in the game, giving the Dores a one-point lead. Once Ole Miss failed to move the chains on a fourth down play, head coach James Franklin made right on his goal to be 1-0 for the week.
“I got in there at halftime and talked to the team and said that this Vanderbilt football team overcomes adversity. This Vanderbilt football team knows how to win on the road. This Vanderbilt team knows how to win tough games. This Vanderbilt team is going to find a way to get a W this week,” Franklin said. “They listened. They believed.”
If Vandy can reel off two straight victories to end the season against Tennessee and Wake Forest, they would finish the year with eight wins for the first time since 1982. One thing is for sure, Franklin will just concentrate on this week and try to be 1-0 on Saturday.
TSU (8-2) and MTSU (6-3) were on byes.
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Photos courtesy of the AP