KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Brent Schaeffer was a little nervous
making history in his collegiate debut before more than 108,000
After a fumble early in the game, Tennessee's quarterback
settled down and ran for one touchdown and threw for another in the
(No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) Volunteers' 42-17 win over UNLV on Sunday night.
Schaeffer was the first true freshman to start an opener in the
Southeastern Conference since Georgia's John Rauch in 1945.
Fellow freshman Erik Ainge, bracketed with Schaeffer at No. 1 on
the depth chart, passed for two touchdowns.
"I had a couple of butterflies, but after those first couple of
plays, I felt good," Schaeffer said.
Both showed off their special skills: Schaeffer's elusive
running, and Ainge's strong arm.
Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer was pleased by all of it.
"That's really about as good as you could hope for," Fulmer
said. "I think the team around them lifted them up. ... I don't
think there was pressure for them to win the game."
Schaeffer fumbled to end his first series, but he ran for a
1-yard touchdown in his second series.
On third-and-1, Schaeffer got past a defender in the backfield,
rolled right, dodged more defenders and ran into the end zone to
give Tennessee a 7-3 lead.
After the fumble, Schaeffer got some advice from offensive
coordinator Randy Sanders.
"He told me to forget it and play like it never happened,"
Schaeffer went 7-of-10 for 123 yards and ran seven times for 29
Ainge came in for the Volunteers' third possession and capped an
80-yard drive with a 42-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Fayton.
Ainge's best effort came in the second half, when he completed a
3-yard pass to Tony Brown for a touchdown at the end of a 13-play,
Ainge was 7-of-9 for 69 yards in the drive and finished 10-of-17
for 118 yards. He said he didn't mind splitting time with
"I'm not worried about how many passes I have as long as we get
the win," he said.
The freshmen fared better in their debuts than Tennessee's
defense, which, at times, had trouble stopping UNLV's tailbacks.
The Rebels, who have lost four of six openers under coach John
Robinson, rolled up 164 yards on the ground.
Dominique Dorsey had 18 carries for 121 yards and a 17-yard
touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He went over 100 yards for the
sixth time in his career.
Dyante Perkins ran 3 yards for another score in the third
Tennessee lost starting tailback Cedric Houston to a right ankle
injury in the third quarter. He rushed for 97 yards. Gerald Riggs
filled in and finished with 79 yards on 13 carries, including a
3-yard touchdown run. Corey Larkins added a 23-yard touchdown run
in the fourth quarter.
UNLV led 3-0 early in the first quarter, but the Vols responded
with 28 straight points to put the game out of reach. The Rebels
avoided a rout similar to the 62-3 thrashing they took in their
only other meeting with Tennessee, in 1996 in Knoxville.
UNLV dropped to 3-13 against ranked opponents after winning
their last two games against then No. 14 Wisconsin and then-No. 13
Colorado State last season.