Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Music City Bowl: Did you know?
By ESPN.com staff
A little bit of this and a little bit of that heading into Thursday's Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl between North Carolina and Tennessee:
- Tennessee is trying to avoid what would be its third losing season in the last six years. During the SEC era, which dates back to 1933, the Vols have never suffered through three losing seasons during a six-year stretch.
- The Vols are just 3-6 in their last nine bowl games, which includes an 0-3 mark against the ACC (lost Chick-fil-A bowls to Virginia Tech, Clemson and Maryland).
- The Tar Heels have lost their last three bowl appearances and haven’t won a bowl game since the 2001 season when Julius Peppers and Ronald Curry were still in college. However, they have won three of their last four bowls against SEC foes.
- Tennessee has won 15 straight games in Nashville, with 14 of those coming against Vanderbilt. The Vols also beat Wyoming in Nashville in 2002, a game that was played at the Tennessee Titans' stadium.
- North Carolina lost eight players for the season due to NCAA eligibility issues, and six other players were eventually cleared to play after missing a total of 25 games between them.
- The Tar Heels will be without starting middle linebacker Bruce Carter and starting offensive guard Bruce Pelc, both of whom are out with injuries, while starting tailback Anthony Elzy was suspended by the university for academic reasons.
- Tennessee converted only 11-of-58 (19 percent) of its third-down attempts in the first four games, but the Vols are 52-of-115 (45.2 percent) on third down in the eight games since.
- Despite being in bordering states, North Carolina and Tennessee haven’t met on a football field since 1961, although they did meet every season from 1945-61.
- This will be the fourth different stadium in the state of Tennessee (LP Field) that the Vols have played in this season. In addition to Neyland Stadium, they also played Memphis at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt Stadium.
- Tennessee freshman quarterback Tyler Bray, who's 4-0 as a starter, led the nation in November with 24 completions of 20 yards or longer.
- Tennessee was one of three SEC teams this year that didn't beat an FBS team that finished the regular season with a winning record. The other two were Georgia and Vanderbilt.