This Week in Vols History: Tennessee vs. UCLA 1997

With Tennessee heading out to Oregon to face the No. 2 ranked Ducks we take a look back at another West Coast trip when Tennessee faced UCLA in September 1997.

Before the game, UCLA head coach Bob Toledo knew a certain Tennessee linebacker would give his Bruins problems.

"They're putting Leonard Little a lot of places that he can't be blocked." Toledo said of the senior middle linebacker who made the switch from defensive end.

It didn't take long for Little to make his presence felt. Early in the first quarter he took down UCLA quarterback Cade McNown for a safety to put the Vols up 2-0.

Later in the first Little drove McNown to the turf forcing a bad throw that was picked off by Cory Gaines and returned 57 yards for a touchdown.

Peyton Manning added two first half touchdown passes to Jermaine Copeland and Marcus Nash and Tennessee led 24-3 at the half.

Manning would finish with 341 yards through the air with Nash reeling in 8 catches for 117 of those yards.

However, the Vols offense stalled in the second half and a few miscues allowed UCLA to storm back into the game.

"I was frustrated during the second half that we weren't performing better offensively , but I have a lot of confidence in our defense that they'll get the job done," said Manning.

Tennessee was clinging to a six-point lead with less than three minutes left and the Bruins knocking at the door when Little struck again. He dove in from behind forcing Bruins running back Skip Hicks to fumble. Fred White recovered the loose ball and the Vols escaped with a 30-24 victory.

Both schools would finish the '97 season with conference championships and a top ten ranking.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories