Friday, December 13, 2002
Tennessee 20, Alabama 10
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Casey Clausen, a freshman making his first start for Tennessee, threw two touchdown passes to Cedrick Wilson as the Vols beat Alabama 20-10 on Saturday.
Tennessee (3-3, 1-3 Southeastern Conference), which won its first league game of the season and broke a two-game losing streak, beat the Crimson Tide for the sixth straight time.
Alabama (3-4, 3-2) has only lost six consecutive games to one other team. That was Sewanee at the turn of the century.
Tennessee stopped a fourth-quarter drive by Alabama to preserve the win.
The Crimson Tide, down by 10, were at the Tennessee 8 when Brandon Miree fumbled. Kevin Burnett recovered and gave Tennessee the ball back with 8:32 to go in the game.
Clausen, who had played in parts of three games so far, started in place of redshirt freshman A.J. Suggs.
Tennessee coaches said at the time the move was made because they believed Clausen gave them a better chance throwing the ball.
Even though he was often under pressure, Clausen finished 17-of-24 for 213 yards with no interceptions.
His counterpart, Andrew Zow, who filled in for an injured Tyler Watts in Alabama's win last week, was 14-of-29 for 181 with two interceptions. Alabama was held to just 44 yards rushing, a season low.
Alabama, which was held to just 5 yards rushing in the first half, had cut Tennessee's lead to 17-10 with 6:26 remaining in the third quarter.
Neal Thomas hit a 49-yard field goal 3:45 into the second half, the Crimson Tide's first score in the game.
But Tennessee responded with an 80-yard drive that culminated in Wilson's 3-yard touchdown catch that put the Vols ahead 17-3 with 9:08 remaining in the third quarter.
Alabama followed with Zow's first touchdown pass of the season, a 17-yarder to Jason McAddley, to make it 17-10.
Wilson caught a pass from Clausen and ran 23 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown to give Tennessee a 7-0 lead with 4:26 left in the first quarter.
Alex Walls kicked a 31-yard field goal to put the Vols ahead 10-0 with 4:52 left before halftime after Alabama botched a punt attempt.
Crimson Tide punter Lane Bearden mishandled the snap, and Tennessee's Jabari Greer burst through the line and tackled him at the Alabama 32.
Tennessee got the ball back three minutes after the field goal when Teddy Gaines intercepted Zow's pass at the Vols 32. But Tennessee couldn't take advantage and had to punt three plays later.
Clausen started the game with a 44-yard pass to Donte' Stallworth on the first snap, but Tennessee could not move the ball further and had to punt.
Alabama put pressure on Clausen early and often. Clausen's helmet was stripped off in one play, and later, he was grabbed by the leg and still managed a short pass to Troy Fleming.
Both teams, which have won as combined 34 SEC titles, were unranked coming into the game for the first time since 1984. Tennessee won that game 28-27 in Knoxville. It was also the first time since 1955 that neither team had a winning record.