KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee quarterback Cassie Clausen tied a school record with five touchdown passes en route to a 49-28 Tennessee win over the University of Memphis Tigers.
The tight scores that have characterized these two teams' last two meetings never materialized as Clausen tossed 35 passes for 22 completions and 298 yards, along with the five scores. Clausens favorite receiver was Donte Stallworth who caught seven passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns.
The Volunteers also worked the Tigers on the ground, running a total of 218 yards. Tennessee running back Travis Stephens broke the 1,000 yard mark for the season as he ran 124 yards for the game on 20 carries. Tennessee running back Derrick Tinsley added a rushing touchdown, and Tennessee kicker Alex Walls knocked in two strikes from 27 yards, 24 yards, respectively.
The Tigers had little in the way of answers until late in the game when a scoring spree of 21 points in the fourth quarter put the Tigers within 14 points of a tie.
However, of the overall performance, Tigers head coach Tommy West wanted more. Im disappointed in us, he said. I think were better than how we played. We knew we couldn't turn it over and make mistakes. We have to learn how to carry over from practice to the game. We've practiced hard, but we have to learn how to play the game.
West was also quick to point out that Tennessee deserves due credit. Theyre fourth in the BCS, he said. Theyve got weapons everywhere.
One of Wests disappointments was the Tiger running game. Running back Dante Brown left the game with a cut on his arm that needed stitches, and was unable to return. Four other Tiger rushers put together only 23 running yards overall. We tried to run the ball inside, West said. [The Tennessee defense] spit it back out at us.
Another disappointment was Tiger starting quarterback Neil Suber, who earned his first start since the middle of last season. However, the fifth year senior did little with his opportunity. Neil wasnt playing well, West said of Subers hitting on only 6 of 16 passes for 95 yards and an interception. Suber did throw in one touchdown on a startling three play, 60 yard drive that lasted less than a minute.
Starting the second half for the Tigers was redshirt freshman quarterback Danny Wimprine. Wimprine accounted for Memphis other three touchdowns of the game as he tossed in two passes to receivers Bunkie Perkins and Travis Anglin. Wimprine also ran in one touchdown from one yard out. Danny took the ball to the right places, West said. I thought he did some good things.
The Tigers put themselves into a hole early in the game with a pair of lost fumbles from the Memphis 21 and 18. In the first instance, Suber optioned the ball to running back Jeremiah Bonds who lost the ball after Tennesee defensive back Montrell Jones made a good hit. In the second instance, Suber couldnt handle a bad snap and Tennessee defensive end Bernard Jackson recovered.
The Tigers return to Memphis to host Army on November 17 at 1 p.m. At 4-5 overall and 2-3 in Conference USA play, the Tigers are still mathematically in the hunt for a bowl bid. "Its a one game season for us," West said. "We have to try and win the fifth game this week against Army. If not, we play for pride [against Cincinnati]. I want to be able to play for something in the last game."