(Saturday, October 4th)
Final Score: Tennessee 13, Northern Illinois 9
Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) - A 52-yard touchdown pass from Nick Stephens to Denarius Moore in the third quarter proved to be the difference as the Tennessee Volunteers defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies, 13-9, in a defensive, non-conference battle at Neyland Stadium.
Stephens finished the night 10-of-17 for 156 yards and the one score for the Vols (2-3) as they snapped a two-game slide.
The Huskies (2-3) failed to get into the end zone as Mike Salerno booted a trio of field goals in the team's first setback since September 6.
Salerno began the game's scoring with a 25-yard field goal with just under three minutes to play in the first quarter.
At the 6:50 mark of the second frame Daniel Lincoln knocked through the first of his two field goals for the home team, a 36-yard effort that knotted the score at 3-3 heading into the break.
On the first possession of the second half Lincoln's 34-yard field goal put Tennessee ahead by three. Less than three minutes later Stephens floated a deep ball down the middle of the field and Moore slipped in underneath and carried it into the end zone to boost the UT lead to 13-3.
Salerno field goals of 24 and 25 yards late in the contest drew NIU to within four points, but that's as close as the visitors would get in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
The Volunteers controlled the ball for more than 10 minutes in the final period, yet the squad finished the night a mere 3-of-13 on third down and ran a total of just 50 plays en route to 225 yards of offense.
10/04 23:13:47 ET