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Houston's 154 yards help Vols overcome penalties

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee doesn't begin its Southeastern
Conference schedule until later this month. Marshall gave the No.
12 Volunteers an early preview.

Casey Clausen threw three touchdowns passes and James Wilhoit
kicked two field goals in the fourth quarter as Tennessee (2-0)
struggled to beat the Thundering Herd 34-24 Saturday.

"They definitely have speed at receiver. Their defense is fast
too. That's what we play every week in the SEC," Tennessee
receiver Troy Fleming said.

Marshall (1-1) led early before Tennessee scored two touchdowns
to go ahead for good after halftime, but the Herd would not let up
even with its starting quarterback injured.

Stan Hill threw three touchdown passes before leaving the game
at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a sprained left knee.
He was replaced by Graham Gochneaur, who redshirted last year as a
junior college transfer.

Marshall cut the lead down to four twice in the second half.

"In the first quarter, second quarter, we knew it was going to
go until the fourth," Tennessee offensive tackle Michael Munoz
said.

Trailing 21-10 in the third quarter, the Herd drove 80 yards to
score on Hill's 13-yard TD pass to Darius Watts. Tennessee was
penalized four times for 49 yards on the drive.

But the Vols responded with another touchdown on their ensuing
possession when Fleming caught a 3-yard pass from Clausen to go
ahead 28-17 late in the third quarter.

Marshall then cut it to 28-24, scoring another touchdown on
Hill's 65-yard pass to Josh Davis on the next series.

Tennessee tried to extend its lead and went for a long touchdown
pass attempt to start the fourth quarter. Jayson Swain appeared to
haul in a 40-yard pass from Clausen in the end zone, but the
officials ruled it incomplete as the crowd of 106,520 booed.

The Vols did not score on the drive after Wilhoit missed a
47-yard field-goal attempt.

After Hill left the game on the next series, Tennessee settled
for Wilhoit's field goals of 42 and 35 yards to finally put away
the Herd.

"Our thought was that they'd make one play and we'd make two.
We didn't think we couldn't win," Marshall coach Bob Pruett said.
"We had a chance in the fourth quarter at 28-24. I thought we
would win."

The Vols believed Marshall would be a tougher opponent than
their first, Fresno State. They were right.

Now Tennessee has two weeks to prepare for a trip to Florida on
Sept. 20.

"I think it's really good for us to have played a tough game
like this," Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said.

The game pitted the top two active coaches in terms of winning
percentage in Division I and nearly gave Marshall its second win
ever over a SEC team. Instead, the Herd dropped to 1-12 all-time,
with its sole SEC win in 1998 over South Carolina.

Pruett has the best winning percentage among active coaches in
Division I who have at least five years' experience. Pruett is
81-14 (.852) since 1997, when the Herd moved up to Division I-A,
while Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer is second at 105-25 (.807).

Clausen started slow but finished 21-of-33 for 235 yards and one
interception. Cedric Houston had 26 carries for 160 yards, one yard
less than he had in Tennessee's 24-6 win over Fresno State last
week.

Hill went 16-of-24 for 242 yards, and Gochneaur was 7-of-10 for
52 yards as Marshall, a normally high-scoring pass-oriented team,
was held to 294 yards passing.

Watts had nine catches for 109 yards while Davis had six for
123.

Marshall went ahead 10-7 after Ben Lewis kicked a 34-yard field
goal before halftime. The Herd had a chance to score again after
Charles Tynes intercepted Clausen's pass and returned it 19 yards
to the Marshall 49.

But Tennessee's defense finally got consistent pressure on Hill
and sacked him twice on consecutive plays for a total loss of 21
yards.

Tennessee's Rashad Baker returned the punt 34 yards down the
sideline and Marshall was called for a 15-yard, late hit penalty,
giving the Vols the ball at the Marshall 27. Clausen then threw a
27-yard TD pass to Tony Brown in the left corner of the end zone
for a 14-10 lead.