Tennessee 45, Northwestern 6
No. 23 Tennessee used a well-balanced attack and shut down No. 13 Northwestern’s offense to earn an easy victory in the Outback Bowl. The Volunteers, after last season’s win over Iowa in the Tax Slayer Bowl, have toppled Big Ten opponents in consecutive bowl appearances and improved to 27-24 all-time in postseason play. The Wildcats fell to 2-10 in bowl games -- the worst record among FBS teams with at least 10 appearances.
Player of the game
- Volunteers running back Jalen Hurd rushed 24 times for 130 yards and his 12th touchdown of the season. The sophomore, who has rushed for 120 yards in each of his last three games, finished the season with 1,288 rushing yards, the sixth most in school history.
- The 39-point margin is the largest bowl win in Tennessee history and the 45 points are the most allowed by Northwestern since Illinois scored 47 points in last season’s finale.
- Tennessee improved to 2-0 all-time against Northwestern with the other victory coming in the 1997 Citrus Bowl.
- Wildcats quarterback Clayton Thorson passed for 57 yards, the fewest of his promising freshman campaign.
- Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs passed for 166 yards and rushed for 48 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a highlight-reel 18-yard score early in the fourth quarter.
- The Volunteers had three players rush for a touchdown for the first time since the 1986 Sugar Bowl.
- Tennessee finished with 420 total yards and limited Northwestern to 261 yards.
- Volunteers defensive back Evan Berry’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown with 8 seconds left was the longest play in Outback Bowl history.
- Hurd’s 3-yard touchdown run with 4:40 left in the third quarter gave Tennessee a 24-6 lead that was too much for Northwestern’s punchless offense to overcome.