After an undefeated regular season, Tennessee had to get through Mississippi State in Atlanta to claim the SEC crown and a trip to Tempe, Arizone and the first ever BCS National Championship Game.
Here's a game recap from the Tennessee athletic department:
Behind 14-10 midway through the fourth quarter, Tennessee scored two late touchdowns to hold off a tenacious Mississippi State squad, 24-14, before a sellout crowd of 74,795 and a national television audience (ABC).
The win by Tennessee enabled the Vols to stay undefeated for the season and participate in the National Championship Game at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. In that contest, Tennessee defeated Florida State, 23-16, to win the national title.
Midway through the final quarter, MSU's Kevin Prentiss returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs ahead, 14-10. A sudden sense of urgency hit the Vols as their chances for a national championship were riding on the result of the SEC title tilt.
On UT's following drive, QB Tee Martin drove the Vols down the field and hit WR Peerless Price with a 41-yard TD pass with 6:15 left to give Tennessee a 17-14 lead.
Miss. State fumbled on the first play of the next drive, giving the ball back to Tennessee at the MSU 26-yard line. All it took was one play for Martin to find Cedric Wilson for a 26-yard TD pass to give the Vols the final 24-14 margin.
The Bulldogs played in the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl, falling to Texas, 38-11.
Price was the game's Most Valuable Player, with six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. He also returned two kickoffs for 55 yards.
MS - Bean 70 interception return (Hazelwood kick), :05 (1st)
UT - Stephens 2 run (Hall kick), 9:32 (2nd)
UT - Hall 31 FG, 5:09 (2nd)
MS - Prentiss 83 punt return (Hazelwood kick), 8:43 (4th)
UT - Price 41 pass from Martin (Hall kick), 6:15 (4th)
UT - Wilson 26 pass from Martin (Hall kick), 5:47 (4th)
Rushing: MS - Johnson (14-38), UT - Henry (26-120)
Passing: MS - Madkin (10-22-2, 84 yards), UT - Martin (15-32-1, 208 yards, 2 TDs)
Receiving: MS - Cooper (5-44), UT - Price (6-97), Copeland (5-76)
Tackles: MS - Campbell (10-2=12), UT - Walker (4-1=5)