1998 Tennessee Volunteers football
Tennessee Volunteers logo.svg
Consensus national champion
SEC champion
SEC Eastern Division champion
Fiesta Bowl champion
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
DivisionEastern Division
Ranking
CoachesNo. 1
APNo. 1
Record13–0 (8–0 SEC)
Head coach
Offensive coordinatorDavid Cutcliffe (7th as OC; 17th overall season)
Offensive schemePro-style
Defensive coordinatorJohn Chavis (4th as DC; 11th overall season)
Base defense4–3 multiple
Captains
Home stadiumNeyland Stadium
(Capacity: 102,854)[1]
Seasons
← 1997
1999 →
1998 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
Eastern Division
No. 1 Tennessee x$#   8 0     13 0  
No. 5 Florida  %   7 1     10 2  
No. 14 Georgia   6 2     9 3  
Kentucky   4 4     7 5  
Vanderbilt   1 7     2 9  
South Carolina   0 8     1 10  
Western Division
Mississippi State xy   6 2     8 5  
No. 16 Arkansas x   6 2     9 3  
Alabama   4 4     7 5  
Ole Miss   3 5     7 5  
LSU   2 6     4 7  
Auburn   1 7     3 8  
Championship: Tennessee 24, Mississippi State 14
  • # – BCS National Champion
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • % – BCS at-large representative
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1998 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1998 NCAA Division I-A football season. Tennessee entered the 1998 season coming off an 11–2 record (7–1 SEC) in 1997. The Volunteers were given a preseason ranking of No. 10 in the AP Poll.

The Vols won their second undisputed national title, and sixth overall, after defeating Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl, the first BCS National Championship Game. The '98 Vols beat eight bowl teams, including six January bowl teams, four top ten teams, and three BCS bowl-bound teams. The 1998 Tennessee Volunteers were ranked as the No. 3 college football team of all time by the Billingsley Report computer ratings.[2]

Tennessee was expected to have a slight fall-off after their conference championship the previous season. They had lost quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver Marcus Nash, and linebacker Leonard Little to the NFL. Manning was the first pick overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, selected before Ryan Leaf. Tennessee was also coming off a difficult 42–17 loss to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, and were in the midst of a five-game losing streak to the rival Florida Gators. Nonetheless, the Volunteers ended their season in Tempe with the school's first undefeated season in sixty years.

Captains

Schedule

DateTimeOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendance
September 512:35 pmat No. 17 Syracuse*No. 10ESPNW 34–3349,550
September 198:00 pmNo. 2 FloridaNo. 6CBSW 20–17 OT107,653
September 267:00 pmHouston*No. 4
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
PPVW 42–7106,417
October 33:30 pmat AuburnNo. 3CBSW 17–985,214
October 103:30 pmat No. 7 GeorgiaNo. 4CBSW 22–386,117
October 243:30 pmAlabamaNo. 3
CBSW 35–18107,289
October 3112:30 pmat South CarolinaNo. 3JPSW 49–1469,523
November 71:00 pmUAB*No. 2
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
PPVW 37–13106,508
November 143:30 pmNo. 10 ArkansasNo. 1
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
CBSW 28–24106,365
November 213:30 pmKentuckyNo. 1
CBSW 59–21107,252
November 285:30 pmat VanderbiltNo. 1JPSW 41–041,600
December 57:30 pmvs. No. 23 Mississippi StateNo. 1ABCW 24–1474,795
January 47:30 pmvs. No. 2 Florida State*No. 1ABCW 23–1680,470
  • *Non-conference game
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Eastern time

Rankings

See also: 1998 NCAA Division I-A football rankings

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
т = Tied with team above or below. ( ) = First place votes.
Week
PollPre1234567891011121314Final
AP10864 (2)3 (2)43 (3)3 (3)3 (3)2 (3)1 (46)1 (37)1 (42)1 (41)1 (70)1 (70)
Coaches Poll1076455444 (1)3 (2)1T (25)2 (18½)2 (22½)2 (24½)1 (60)1 (62)
BCSNot released3211111Not released

Roster

1998 Tennessee Volunteers football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
RB 24 Shawn Bryson Sr
OT 67 Chad Clifton Jr
QB 17 Tee Martin Jr
WR 37 Peerless Price Sr
WR 14 Cedrick Wilson Sr. So
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
DE 93 Shaun Ellis Jr
DB 23 Dwayne Goodrich Jr
LB 46 Raynoch Thompson Jr
LB 27 Al Wilson Sr
LB 42 Eric Westmoreland So
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
PK 4 Jeff Hall Sr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Injured
    Injured
  • Redshirt
    Redshirt

Game summaries

Syracuse

1 2 3 4 Total
No. 10 Tennessee 7 7 10 10 34
No. 17 Syracuse 0 10 3 20 33

K Jeff Hall hit a 27 Yard field goal as time expired to give the Vols a key road win. This was the second game winning kick of Hall's career (Georgia 1995). In his first game as a starter QB Tee Martin went only 9-of-26 for 143 yards, but led the Vols into field goal range for the final kick. HB Jamal Lewis led the Vols with 140 yards rushing and a touchdown. WR Peerless Price had two touchdown receptions.

QB Donovan McNabb gave the Volunteer defense fits, putting up 300 yards with a 22-for-28 day

Florida

1 2 3 4OT Total
No. 2 Florida 3 7 7 00 17
No. 6 Tennessee 7 3 7 03 20

Tennessee broke a 5-game losing streak against the Gators. Florida K Collins Cooper missed a FG in overtime and set off a wild celebration at Neyland Stadium that saw the goalposts and CBS cameras disappear. The Vols won despite racking up only 235 yards of total offense. The difference was turnovers. The Florida Gators lost 4 fumbles, 2 caused by hits by Al Wilson. K Jeff Hall made his field goal in the first overtime, setting the stage for the Florida miss and the Vols win. The Vols also held the Gators to −13 net rushing on 30 attempts. FB Shawn Bryson scored on a 57-yard run.

Houston

1 2 3 4 Total
Houston 0 0 7 0 7
No. 4 Tennessee 7 14 7 14 42

Junior QB Tee Martin had his coming-out party against the Houston Cougars, throwing for 4 touchdowns and 234 yards en route to the Vols win. Jamal Lewis added 135 yards rushing and 1 touchdown, leading the Vols to 334 rushing yards and 589 total yards. The Vols defense held Houston to 239 total yards and recorded 3 sacks with 8 tackles for loss.

Auburn

1 2 3 4 Total
No. 3 Tennessee 17 0 0 0 17
Auburn 0 3 3 3 9

The Vols jumped out to an early lead behind the running of Jamal Lewis. However, following a season ending ACL injury, Lewis left the game and the Tennessee Defense held on for the 17–9 win.

In a rematch of the high scoring 1997 SEC Championship Game, the Defense needed a score by DE Shaun Ellis and a 4 play goal line stand from inside the 1-yard line to secure the win. They did so without senior captain Al Wilson, who missed the game with a shoulder injury.

Georgia

1 2 3 4 Total
No. 4 Tennessee 3 6 13 0 22
No. 7 Georgia 3 0 0 0 3

Tennessee entered their 3rd game in the 1998 SEC season as underdogs. However, behind the running of substitute HB's Travis Henry and Travis Stephens, and a strong defensive effort, the Vols dominated the Bulldogs.

Georgia was limited to only 254 total yards and the Vols defense held their opponent without a touchdown for the second straight game.

Alabama

1 2 3 4 Total
Alabama 3 0 8 7 18
No. 3 Tennessee 7 7 7 14 35

The Vols pushed their winning streak over Alabama to 4 games with a 35–18 victory. The win gave Tennessee a 6–0 record for the first time since 1969, and also extended a streak for the Vols in the Third Saturday in October game.

This time, the Vols Offense relied on Travis Henry who rushed for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. The play that broke the game open for the Vols was a 100-yard kickoff return by Peerless Price in the 3rd quarter that answered an Alabama touchdown and two-point conversion.

South Carolina

1 2 3 4 Total
No. 3 Tennessee 7 14 21 7 49
South Carolina 0 0 0 14 14

Tee Martin set an NCAA record for consecutive completions with 24, leading the Vols to a 49–14 victory. Martin completed his first 23 passes (with one from the previous game) to set the record. He also recorded his first 300-yard passing game by going 23-for-24 for 315 yards and 4 touchdowns.

The Vol Defense held South Carolina scoreless until the 4th quarter, when they had a 42–0 lead.

UAB

1 2 3 4 Total
UAB 0 3 3 7 13
No. 2 Tennessee 10 14 10 3 37

Tennessee took care of the Blazers to win their homecoming contest and move their record to 8–0. It was their first 8–0 start since 1956. The Vols racked up 447 total yards, led by the rushing of Travis Henry and the passing of Tee Martin. WR Peerless Price also added 103 yards receiving.

Arkansas

1 2 3 4 Total
No. 10 Arkansas 7 14 3 0 24
No. 1 Tennessee 0 10 10 8 28

Tennessee fell behind 21–3 in the first half, but capped off a season-saving comeback with a Travis Henry touchdown run in the final seconds.

Henry had 197 yards rushing and the deciding touchdown. The key play of the game and possibly the season occurred in the 4th quarter. Arkansas was nursing a 24–22 lead late in the game and was attempting to run out the clock. DT Billy Ratliff pushed Arkansas G Brandon Burlsworth into QB Clint Stoerner, causing him to stumble and fumble. Ratliff recovered the ball and allowed Tennessee the chance to drive the field and score the game-winning touchdown.

Kentucky

1 2 3 4 Total
Kentucky 7 0 7 7 21
No. 1 Tennessee 14 24 14 7 59

Kentucky struggled after one of their players died and another was injured in an automobile accident early that week, as Tennessee picked up an easy 59–21 win. This game marked the end of the Battle of the Beer Barrel, due to the alcohol-related death that week.

Kentucky QB Tim Couch passed for 337 yards and 2 touchdowns, but Kentucky never threatened after the 1st quarter

Vanderbilt

1 2 3 4 Total
No. 1 Tennessee 3 17 7 14 41
Vanderbilt 0 0 0 0 0

The Vols clinched their second consecutive SEC East Division title with a win in Nashville. Tennessee dominated once again, holding the Commodores scoreless and limiting them to 174 total yards.

Tee Martin had 241 yards passing and 1 touchdown, while Travis Henry led the team in rushing with 136 yards and a touchdown. Peerless Price added 181 yards receiving and a touchdown.

SEC Championship Game: Mississippi State

1 2 3 4 Total
No. 23 Mississippi St 7 0 0 7 14
No. 1 Tennessee 0 10 0 14 24

Tennessee won its second SEC title, in a defensive struggle. The Vols were held to 249 total yards and scored 3 touchdowns. They were down late in the 4th quarter 14–10, but scored two touchdowns within 32 seconds of each other on passes by Tee Martin. This win secured a berth into the National Championship game for the Vols.

Fiesta Bowl: Florida State

1 2 3 4 Total
No. 2 Florida St 0 9 0 7 16
No. 1 Tennessee 0 14 0 9 23

Tennessee won its first consensus National Championship since 1951 and the first ever BCS title game by defeating the Seminoles 23–16. The second ranked Seminoles were favored and boasted superstar WR Peter Warrick. The Vols limited Warrick to 1 catch for 7 yards and scored on long passes to Peerless Price and an interception return by CB Dwayne Goodrich, who was the defensive MVP of the game. Price had 199 yards receiving on 4 catches and scored the deciding touchdown in the 4th quarter.

LB Al Wilson led the defense with 9 tackles.

See also: 1999 Fiesta Bowl

Statistics

Honors

SEC and National Championship rings for the 1998 Tennessee Vols
SEC and National Championship rings for the 1998 Tennessee Vols
  • Birmingham Quarterback Club – Most Outstanding SEC Lineman
  • AP, AFCA, and FWAA 1st team All American
  • 'Football News', AP and Coaches 1st team All SEC
  • AP 3rd team All American
  • 'Football News', AP and Coaches 1st team All SEC
  • 'Football News' 1st team All SEC
  • AP and Coaches 2nd team All SEC
  • AP 1st team All SEC
  • Coaches 2nd team All SEC
  • AP and Coaches 2nd team All SEC
  • 'Football News', AP and Coaches 1st team All SEC
  • AP and Coaches 2nd team All SEC
  • AP 1st team All SEC
  • Coaches 2nd team All SEC

Team players drafted into the NFL

Main article: 1999 NFL Draft

Player Position Round Pick NFL club
Al Wilson Linebacker 1 31 Denver Broncos
Peerless Price Wide receiver 2 53 Buffalo Bills
Shawn Bryson Running back 3 86 Buffalo Bills
Steve Johnson Cornerback 6 170 Seattle Seahawks
Jeff Hall Kicker 6 181 Washington Redskins
Corey Terry Defensive end 7 250 Indianapolis Colts

References

  1. ^ "Neyland Stadium". utsports.com. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 28, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ 2011 Tennessee Football Record Book Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, p. 102.