ORLANDO, Fla. -- The No. 8-ranked Tennessee Volunteers ended the University of Michigan football team's streak of four straight Jan. 1 bowl victories with a 45-17 win in the 2002 Florida Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day. Tennessee (11-2) scored the first 17 points of the game before the Wolverines (8-4) scored, then added another 21 unanswered points to start the second half.
Junior running back B.J. Askew (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain HS) was named the Michigan Offensive MVP and senior inside linebacker Larry Foote (Detroit, Mich./Pershing HS) garnered the Michigan Defensive MVP by the media. Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen was named the Most Valuable Player of the game, with defensive tackle John Henderson being named the defensive MVP for the Volunteers.
Askew gained 71 rushing yards on nine carries in the game and added a 14-yard touchdown pass on a screen. Senior wide receiver Marquise Walker (Syracuse, N.Y./Henninger HS) surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark for a school-record sixth time, collecting 100 receiving yards on five receptions. Junior/sophomore quarterback John Navarre (Cudahy, Wis./Cudahy HS) completed 21-of-39 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Foote recorded a team-high nine tackles and two pass breakups. Senior/junior outside linebacker Victor Hobson (Mt. Laurel, N.J./St. Joseph's Prep, Pa.) added eight stops, with a trio of three players led by fifth-year senior inside linebacker Eric Brackins (Pigeon Forge, Tenn./Gatlinburg-Pittman HS) contributing six stops. With four sacks against the Volunteers, the Michigan defense set a school record with 50 sacks this season.
Tennessee took the opening kickoff and gained a 3-0 lead as kicker Alex Walls connected on a 32-yard field goal. The 11-play scoring drive covered 65 yards in 4:06 and was the fourth time this season that a opponent scored on the Wolverines during the opening possession (Purdue, Michigan State and Wisconsin scored touchdowns).
Following two fumbles on the same play by Michigan, the Volunteers recovered and increased their lead as Clausen tossed a three-yard quick slant pass to wide receiver Kelley Washington. Tennessee took advantage of the turnover inside Michigan territory at the 28-yard line and grabbed the 10-0 lead with 3:45 left in the first quarter.
The Volunteers grabbed a 17-0 lead as Clausen went across on a one-yard keeper on the second play of second quarter. Clausen completed a 23-yard pass to wide receiver Donte Stallworth to the one-yard line after hooking up with tailback Travis Stephens (19 yards) and tight end Jason Witten (26 yards) on key pass plays earlier in the drive.
The punt rush team gave Michigan's offense its best field position of the game at Tennessee's 45-yard line after pressuring punter Dustin Colquitt into a quick kick that went six yards. The Wolverines capitalized and trimmed the lead to 17-7 as Navarre completed a 14-yard screen pass to Askew for a touchdown. The nine-play scoring drive covered 44 yards in 3:01. Navarre completed 3-of-5 passes for 29 yards and tailback Chris Perry (Advance, N.C./Fork Union Military, Va.) rushed four times for 16 yards, including a two-yard gain on fourth-and-one.
Tennessee answered the Michigan touchdown on its next possession as Clausen scored his second straight touchdown on a one-yard quarterback keeper. Clausen completed all three passes for 35 yards with Stallworth gaining 42 yards on a third-and-14 reverse that moved the ball to U-M's 38-yard line.
Utilizing their two-minute offense, the Wolverines moved inside the Volunteers' 10-yard line but were unable to come away with a touchdown and settled for a 28-yard field goal by senior placekicker/punter Hayden Epstein (Cardiff, Calif./Torrey Pines HS). The 10-play scoring drive covered 72 yards in 2:13, with Walker gaining 49 receiving yards on two catches and Askew adding a 25-yard run to the UT seven-yard line. Epstein connected on the field goal with 37 seconds remaining in the half.
Michigan took the kickoff to open the third quarter and moved inside Tennessee territory but the drive stalled and Epstein punted 27 yards to the UT 16-yard line. The Volunteers took three plays to increase the lead to 31-10, with Clausen completing a pass down the middle to Witten for a 64-yard touchdown. After a two-yard run by Stephens on the first play, Clausen tossed an 18-yard pass to tight end John Finlayson prior to the scoring play.
Tennessee increased the lead to 38-10 with 13:37 remaining in the game as Washington took a screen pass from Clausen and went 37 yards for a touchdown. The 11-play scoring drive covered 93 yards, with Clausen completing 5-of-6 passes for 86 yards. Witten caught three passes for 30 yards and Stallworth added a 19-yard catch.
On the ensuing drive, Navarre's first-down pass was intercepted by Jabari Greer and returned to the Michigan three-yard line. Stephens scored on a three-yard sweep to the left, giving Tennessee a 45-10 advantage.
The Wolverines found the end zone for the first and only time in the second half with 9:32 remaining as Navarre completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Calvin Bell (Simi Valley, Calif./Simi Valley HS). The slant pass to Bell was the first receiving TD of his career, with his previous three scores coming on reverses. The three-play scoring drive was aided by a 16-yard pass from Navarre to Walker and a 15-yard pass interference penalty assessed against the Volunteers.
Michigan completed the season with an 8-4 overall record and finished second in the Big Ten Conference with a 6-2 mark. The Wolverines open the 2002 season at home against Washington on Aug. 31.
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