KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Rick Clausen came off the bench and
threw two touchdown passes, rallying Tennessee to a 20-16 victory
Saturday over Memphis that snapped the Volunteers' four-game losing
streak and kept them from being eliminated from postseason play.
Tennessee's first victory since Oct. 1 looked very much in doubt
most of the game, even with Memphis' star tailback DeAngelo
Williams out of action with an injury.
After erasing a 13-0 deficit, Tennessee (4-5) was clinging to a
17-16 lead when James Wilhoit kicked a 34-yard field goal with 41
seconds remaining. Time ran out before the Tigers (4-5) could get
in scoring position.
The Vols still need to win their final two games against
Vanderbilt and Kentucky to be eligible for a bowl for the 17th
straight year. They improved to 19-1 over their cross-state rivals,
but it was another lackluster performance that has characterized
Memphis jumped out to a lead in the second quarter on two field
goals and Maurice Avery's 4-yard TD run as the Tigers managed to
move the ball early without Williams, the nation's leading rusher
who is averaging 184.5 yards. He hurt his left ankle last week
Joseph Doss started in place of Williams, and Memphis had 72
yards on the ground against the nation's fourth-best rush defense.
Doss finished with 77 yards. Avery went 13-of-29 for 128 yards.
Clausen finished 14-of-24 for 209 yards, and Arian Foster had
132 yards on 28 rushes for the Vols.
Tennessee's Erik Ainge started the game but was pulled after
having two passes intercepted in the first quarter. One
interception was negated by a roughing the passer penalty, but
Ainge could not move the offense.
Clausen, who has rotated throughout the season with Ainge, came
in and rallied the Vols, much the way he did in Tennessee's 30-27
overtime victory at LSU.
Clausen threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter to put
them ahead 14-13. His 39-yard pass to Josh Briscoe was Tennessee's
longest scoring play of the season.
Clausen capped a 94-yard drive with a 15-yard TD pass to C.J.
Fayton with 4 seconds left in the first half.
The Tigers regained the lead, 16-14, in the third quarter on
Stephen Gostkowski's 35-yard field goal.
Wilhoit made a 28-yard field goal with 9:06 remaining to put the
Vols up by a point.
Tennessee held on to the ball for a little over six minutes in
their last possession, with 13 straight running plays preceding
Wilhoit's final field goal.