Best beginning. David Oku, who took the opening kickoff 69 yards and set the tone for the entire game.
Best stat. Jonathan Crompton, who now leads the
lead league and is fourth in the nation in touchdowns. He's thrown more than Tim Tebow. More than Jevan Snead. More than anyone in the best defensive league in the nation.
Best old school. Bryce Brown, for going up over the top of the pile for the team's first touchdown. Kiffin called it "Goal Line Launch."
Worst beginning. Memphis, who failed to connect on its first snap of the game, the ball sailing over the QB's head for a 12-yard loss.
Best film study. Eddie Gran, who noticed during the week that one of of the Tigers doesn't watch the ball on kickoffs, which set up the Vols' onside kick. And we would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for an exceptionally close offisdes call.
Best return to action. Chris Walker, who played against his hometown team after sitting out for an extended period nursing a sore back.
Worst missed opportunity. A touchdown pass to Walker, which Kiffin said they had planned but didn't get a chance to call because they "didn't get to the right spot." I wonder what that was all about. That would have been special.
Best idea. Kiffin, who avoided a letdown by his players by leading by example and calling an exceptionally aggressive game in the first half.
Best attitude. Nick Stephens, who sometime during the first half went to Condredge Holloway to ask him what the touchdown record was because he wanted to see if Crompton could break it.
Best almost. Eric Berry, who finally got an interception with his legs under him and searched frantically for a hole leading to fifteen yards and the NCAA record for interception return yards. He found only six.
Best overused analogy. Kiffin's comparison of Crompton to a Jugs machine, which must have happened five times on the Lane Kiffin Show.
Best trick that worked. The fake spike play with time winding down, which led to a surprised defense and Crompton's QB sneak for a touchdown.
Best play, offense. Denarius Moore's first touchdown, where he got his fingertips on a laser from Crompton, bobbled the ball, dove for it on the run against coverage, and did a somersaulting dive into the end zone for six.
Best tackle, I. C.J. Fleming on one of Memphis's kickoff returns. The returner looked like he was going to get the corner against several Vols in pursuit with bad angles, but Fleming came out of nowhere with a perfect angle and put him on the ground by taking his legs out.
Best tackle, II. Fleming again on an end around, again taking the ball carrier's legs out from under him and this time treating the guy to a full sprawling head over heels cartwheel through the air.
Worst finish. The backups in the second half, especially the defensive backups, who ended up allowing Memphis a dump truck full of yards and 28 points for the game.
Best play, defense. Berry's interception, one that featured him pulling a tipped ball out of the air on the run and slithering back and forth several times sssssssearching for that elusive record.
Player of the game, offense. Jonathan Crompton, who went 21-27 for 331 yards and five touchdowns, added another TD on the ground, and did it all in one half and one drive.
Worst innovation. The Sunday Sports Sound Off with Jimmy Hyams (or whatever it's called), which decided to try to double its money-making potential Sunday morning by playing two commercials at the same time during one of their breaks. It was actually hilarious.