Ainge helps Vols rout Vandy to end 2-game losing streak

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- In hindsight, maybe that DVD celebrating Vanderbilt's first victory over Tennessee since 1982 wasn't such a good idea.

The 22nd-ranked Volunteers used that as motivation Saturday and put an end to a rare November slide.

Erik Ainge threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns, LaMarcus Coker ran for two more, and the 22nd-ranked Volunteers routed Vanderbilt 39-10 Saturday to snap a two-game losing streak.

"They made videos about us last year," Tennessee receiver Robert Meachem said. "That stuck in our mind. ... They beat other teams, but the only video they made was us... We're not going to make any videos."

That DVD was titled "Victory in Knoxville" and detailed Vanderbilt's 28-24 win last season, which snapped Tennessee's 22-game winning streak in the series. Vandy has a DVD detailing a victory over Georgia this year ready for pre-ordering.

It didn't matter to the Vols (8-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference), who rebounded after losing their last two games to LSU and Arkansas.

"It feels good to come to your hometown and get the win," said Coker, a Nashville native who has a friendship with Vandy linebacker Marcus Buggs. "Buggs has been getting at me all year for his bragging rights, and it feels good to shut him up."

Vanderbilt (4-8, 1-7) had a chance to finish with consecutive seasons with at least five victories for the first time since 1974 and 1975 with a win.

But it didn't happen, not with Ainge starting and healthier than he has been since spraining his right ankle Oct. 28. Coker had his best game since hurting a knee against Alabama on Oct. 21. James Wilhoit added four field goals.

"Tennessee played an excellent game," Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said. "We had a hard time stopping them on first downs. We tried to fight back, but couldn't make a game of it."

The Vols, who have lost to Vanderbilt only five times since 1954, improved to 78-9 in November since 1985.

The Commodores had their first sellout since Sept. 4, 1999, but it was thanks to Tennessee fans who filled at least half the stadium with orange.

They had lots to cheer.

Vanderbilt had not allowed more than 400 yards in a game this season until giving up 597 last week in a loss at Kentucky. A defense that didn't have an open week in the schedule to rest up gave up 420 yards to Tennessee through the first three quarters.

The Vols outgained Vandy 429-218 even though the Commodores ran two more plays.

"We'll take it any way we can get it ...," Fulmer said. "We'll play a lot tougher teams than Vanderbilt."

Tennessee methodically took Vandy apart as they scored off the opening possession and trailed only once -- 7-6 -- midway through the second quarter.

Coker, who took the brace off his knee early, capped an 80-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run for a 13-7 lead, and Ainge found Jason Swain on a 6-yard TD toss just before halftime that put the Vols up 19-7.

The Vols put the game away in the third quarter when they outgained Vandy 184-34 on offense. Wilhoit kicked a 22-yard field goal, then Coker needed one play to race 87 yards up the left sideline for a TD and a 29-7 lead with 5:26 to go. He finished with 10 carries for 126 yards.

Ainge capped the victory with a 17-yard TD toss to Robert Meachem early in the fourth quarter for a 36-7 lead. Meachem had seven catches for 95 yards, and Wilhoit had a career-high 15 points with field goals of 43, 27 and 41.

The Vols shut down an offense that had been fifth in the SEC averaging 363.1 yards per game and the nation's top receiver in Earl Bennett. He had four catches for 16 yards a week after a career-high 220 yards receiving.

Chris Nickson, who had 517 yards total offense against Kentucky, was held to 97 yards passing and 44 yards rushing.

"We kept an eye on (him)," Tennessee cornerback Jonathan Wade said. "We never lost him."

Vanderbilt took its only lead at 7-6 when Nickson connected with George Smith on a 7-yard TD pass to culminate a drive that ate up nearly half of the second quarter.


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