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No Major Distractions as Tennessee Wins, 26-21

From Associated Press

After the distraction of Coach Johnny Majors’ resignation, playing Memphis State was a welcome break for the Tennessee Volunteers.

Not that it was easy. The 23rd-ranked Volunteers got four field goals from John Becksvoort and two key passes from Heath Shuler to Ronald Davis to hold off the Tigers, 26-21, Saturday in a nonconference game at Memphis.

The victory, running Tennessee’s record to 14-0 against its cross-state rival, came fewer than 24 hours after Majors announced he is leaving at the end of the season.

“In a way it was much easier,” said Cory Fleming, a Tennessee receiver. “We finally got a chance to get on the field and just think about Memphis State, not worry about anything else, no fans, no media.”

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Majors said he was not worried that his sudden and surprising decision would distract the team.

The Volunteers (6-3) were led by Charlie Garner with 109 rushing yards and a defense that stifled Memphis State (5-5), which was held to minus one yard rushing.

Steve Matthews, a former Tennessee player, and receiver Russell Copeland connected on three touchdown passes to account for all of Memphis State’s points.


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