A solid 14-3 halftime lead for the Tennessee Volunteers turned into a rather shakier-looking 17-10 lead late in the fourth quarter after Vanderbilt’s backup QB, Jared Funk, tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews. But Tennessee marched down the field on their ensuing drive, and on 4th-and-2 from the Vanderbilt 28, UT running back Tauren Poole squirted through a scrum of defenders and raced into the end zone, moving the lead back to two touchdowns and effectively putting the game out of reach for a Vandy offense that had accomplished precious little for most of the night.
Vandy is now 2-9 and needs a win over Wake Forest next week to avoid a second straight two-win season — not an inspiring position to be in just two years after Bobby Johnson led the Commodores to their first bowl game (and first postseason win) since the early 1980s. Tennessee, meanwhile, has reason to feel quite a bit better about themselves. After a soul-crushing 2-6 start, the Vols have now won three straight, and with a win in Knoxville next week over Kentucky — whom they’ve beaten 25 straight times — the Vols will be bowl-eligible in Derek Dooley’s first season as head coach.
Anchor of Gold will soon have a recap of the game for Vandy fans. Vol partisans can head over to Rocky Top Talk for the Big Orange take on the game and how it sets the Vols up for the critical matchup with Kentucky next Saturday.