NASHVILLE - Phillip Fulmer isn't quite sure of the word that best describes
how his Tennessee team survived this season.
Searching for the word after his Vols routed Vanderbilt 65-0 Saturday,
Fulmer wasn't quite sure that perseverance was right.
"I've used that word. That's kind of the word I'm looking for, but just the
fact that you can go on a field every day and work to get better, every
time there's adversity and injuries that we've had, and sticking together
and fighting together and going through some tough times," he said.
"You know we've been through a number of things."
Tennessee (7-4, 5-3 SEC) lost starting quarterback Jerry Colquitt on the
seventh play of the season, then saw backup Todd Helton go down with an
injury. That forced Fulmer to turn to true freshmen Peyton Manning and
Tennessee capped the year with its best offensive performance since 1991 by
rolling up a school-record 665 yards against the Commodores (5-6,
"I don't think we ever lost confidence at any point," Fulmer said. "The
staff and the seniors did an excellent job of (keeping) things together and
James Stewart became the Vols' all-time leading rusher, and John Becksvoort
set the NCAA record for consecutive point-after kicks with 161.
"During the week, I didn't convince myself that this would be the game,"
Becksvoort said. "I knew that it would take an outstanding job by both our
offense and defense. It really didn't come across my mind that much during
the week, so when it happened, it was that much better."
Running back Aaron Hayden, who finished his career with 2,061 yards, broke
his right leg in two places just before halftime. Doctors operated Saturday
night in Knoxville, and he's expected to spend up to two months in a
The Volunteers rushed for 406 yards and also were effective through the
air, with Manning completing 10-of-16 for 141 yards and two TDs, and
Stewart going 7-for-7 for 118 yards and a TD.
It was the most lopsided game in the 88-game series and Tennessee's biggest
victory against any opponent since a 73-0 win over Carson-Newman in
Stewart broke Johnnie Jones' career mark of 2,852 rushing yards in the
second quarter and finished with 121 yards on 12 carries and a 40-yard
touchdown run. That gave him 1,028 for the season and 2,890 for his
Tennessee's Becksvoort broke the NCAA record for consecutive extra points
with his sixth of the day. He finished with 161, topping the 157 by Miami's
The Volunteers led only 7-0 after the first quarter, but scored 30 points
in the second period for a 37-0 halftime lead. Tennessee converted two
Vandy fumbles in the third quarter for 14 more points, and Jay Graham added
a 25-yard TD run with 8:33 left in the fourth.
For Vanderbilt, it was the worst defeat since a 71-0 loss to Alabama in
1945 and ruined the Commodores' chance at a winning season. Coach Gerry
DiNardo said his team got what it deserved and that he has to figure out
where to go now.
"Once the dust settles, we'll find out. It only counts as one loss. It's
bad way to the end the season, but we'll bounce back. It won't demoralize
us, but it's a lesson on how we need to conduct ourselves during the week,"
Fulmer at loss for words to describe 1994 season
Published: Mon Nov 28, 1994 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:47 p.m.