7:45 PM ET, October 5, 2002
Neyland Stadium, KNOXVILLE, TN
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said a lack of discipline and youthful mistakes were keeping the No. 10 Volunteers from playing their best. He had nothing to complain about Saturday night.
Tennessee linebacker Keyon Whiteside sacks Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones in the first half.
Jason Witten caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Casey Clausen in the sixth overtime to give Tennessee (4-1, 1-1 SEC) an exhausting 41-38 win over Arkansas.
"This is the type of game that jells a football team. I am excited about the way we played,'' he said. "We had the heart and the guts to take it to them.''
For the Razorbacks (2-2, 0-2), who beat Mississippi 58-57 in a record-setting seven-overtime game last season, it was a heart-wrenching loss.
They pushed into the final overtime but had to settle for a 47-yard field goal by David Carlton in the sixth OT before the Vols got their last chance.
"When it went into overtime, I said, 'This is our game. We're ready,''' Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "This was bitter, bitter. There were a lot of times we outplayed them.''
The teams kicked field goals in the first two overtimes and were held scoreless in the third.
Arkansas finally scored a touchdown in the next OT, on Matt Jones' run, but the Razorbacks couldn't get the 2-point conversion. Under NCAA rules, teams must go for 2 points after touchdowns starting with the third overtime.
Tennessee scored a touchdown on Clausen's 25-yard pass to Tony Brown, but the Vols also failed on the 2-point conversion.
Jabari Davis, who scored two TDs in regulation, ran from 12 yards out to start the fifth overtime. He fumbled, but the ball was recovered in the end zone by Troy Fleming. Clausen was then stopped on the conversion attempt. De'Arrius Howard scored a TD for Arkansas, whose pass attempt was intercepted by Tennessee's Julian Battle at the goal line.
Arkansas scored two touchdowns in a 4½-minute span of regulation to tie the game at 17 with 3:30 to go.
The Razorbacks trailed 17-3 after Davis scored on a 58-yard touchdown run a minute into the fourth quarter. Arkansas got the ball back, drove 60 yards and scored when Howard ran 10 yards.
The Vols were pushed back, penalized and had to punt on fourth-and-17.
Standing at his own 8, Jones passed to Richard Smith at the 40, and Smith ran down the sideline untouched to the end zone for a 92-yard touchdown to tie it.
"The coaches have told us never to quit, and we were down seven at our own 8, I kept thinking about that,'' Jones said.
Clausen completed 19 of 28 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns.
Jones, who couldn't find many open receivers, ran 21 times for 66 yards. Arkansas' leading rusher, Cedric Cobbs, left the game in the third quarter with a twisted left ankle.
The Razorbacks, who have lost five straight games in Knoxville since 1992, continued to rely heavily on the run but couldn't score a touchdown until Howard's 10-yard run cut Tennessee's lead to 17-10 with 6:56 remaining.
Tennessee came into the game averaging 129.5 yards on the ground -- 10th out of 12 SEC teams -- and was determined to improve despite its leading rusher, Cedric Houston, sitting out with a torn ligament in his left thumb.
The Vols pounded away at Arkansas' defense with Davis, starting in place of Houston, carrying 25 times for 135 yards. Tennessee finished with 162 yards on 47 attempts.