1951 Tennessee Volunteers football
Consensus national champion
SEC co-champion
Sugar Bowl, L 28–13 vs. Maryland
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Ranking
CoachesNo. 1
APNo. 1
1951 record10–1 (5–0 SEC)
Head coach
Offensive schemeSingle-wing
Base defenseMultiple
Home stadiumShields–Watkins Field
Seasons
← 1950
1952 →
1951 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 5 Georgia Tech + 7 0 0 11 0 1
No. 1 Tennessee + 5 0 0 10 1 0
LSU 4 2 1 7 3 1
Ole Miss 4 2 1 6 3 1
No. 15 Kentucky 3 3 0 8 4 0
Auburn 3 4 0 5 5 0
Vanderbilt 3 5 0 6 5 0
Alabama 3 5 0 5 6 0
Florida 2 4 0 5 5 0
Georgia 2 4 0 5 5 0
Mississippi State 2 5 0 4 5 0
Tulane 1 5 0 4 6 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1951 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1951 college football season. In his next to last season as head coach, Robert Neyland led the Vols to their second consecutive national title and the fourth during his tenure. The 1951 title was also the first undisputed, at the time, national title in school history. Maryland has since been retroactively credited with the 1951 national championship by several selectors, including analyst Jeff Sagarin, as they went undefeated that year and beat Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl. At the time, the AP awarded the title before the bowl games were played. 1951 was also Neyland's ninth undefeated regular season in his career. The 1950 Tennessee team had gone 11–1, winning its last nine games and capping the season off with a victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl. In 1951, The Vols put together a 10–0 regular season and were voted national champs by the AP Poll before the bowl season began, as was the convention at the time. In addition to AP, Tennessee was named national champion by NCAA-designated major selectors Litkenhous, United Press International (coaches poll), and Williamson,[1] leading to a consensus national champion designation.[1]: 120 

The game against Alabama on the Third Saturday in October that season was the first ever nationally televised game for both teams. The Vols were a dominant team in the regular season, winning their first nine games by a combined score of 338 to 61 before thwarting a spirited effort by in-state rival Vanderbilt in the last game of the regular season, 35–27.

Prominent players

The 1951 Tennessee Volunteers featured Hank Lauricella, that season's Heisman Trophy runner up, and Doug Atkins, a future member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. James Haslam Jr., a future business and civic leader in Knoxville, was a captain on the 1952 team, and a prominent member of the 1951 squad. The team featured six all-conference players: Lauricella, Atkins, Ted Daffer, John Michaels, Bill Pearman, and Bert Rechichar. Laricella, Daffer, and Pearman were also named All-Americans following the year.

Schedule

DateOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendanceSource
September 29Mississippi StateNo. 1W 14–0
October 6No. 16 Duke*No. 3
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN
W 26–045,000
October 13Chattanooga*No. 3
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN
W 42–1315,000[2]
October 20at AlabamaNo. 2CBSW 27–1344,000
October 27Tennessee Tech*No. 1
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN
W 68–0
November 3at North Carolina*No. 1W 27–0
November 10Washington and Lee*No. 1
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN
W 60–14
November 17at Ole MissNo. 2W 46–21
November 24at No. 9 KentuckyNo. 1W 28–0
December 1VanderbiltdaggerNo. 1
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN (rivalry)
W 35–27
January 1vs. No. 3 Maryland*No. 1L 13–2882,271
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game

[3]

References

  1. ^ a b 2017 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (PDF). Indianapolis: The National Collegiate Athletic Association. July 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017.: 113 
  2. ^ "Vols beat Mocs, 42–13, but losers steal show". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. October 14, 1951. Retrieved September 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ 2011 Tennessee Football Record Book. Knoxville, Tennessee: University of Tennessee Athletics Media Relations Office. 2011. p. 122.