The Tennessee Volunteers (3-4) got their first conference victory in a 34-3 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-5).
The Volunteers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter after struggling early on with a 6-3 lead at halftime.
"The energy from the team when we started making plays in the second half was great," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "It's almost incredible the difference between winning and losing."
The Tennessee defense added five sacks from five different players in the second half. The added pressure on quarterback Tyson Lee led to big plays from the UT secondary.
Demetrice Morley and Eric Berry added 14 points off of interceptions. The duo combined for 104 return yards off the two picks.
Berry's 72-yard interception return for a touchdown broke the SEC career interception return yards record. The sophomore now has 397 return yards in his career.
"I was heading to the ball and I think Ellix Wilson tipped it," Berry said. "It went downhill from there."
Linebacker Ellix Wilson played an important role, with two tipped balls that led to interceptions from Eric Berry and DeAngelo Willingham. Wilson also had 5 tackles.
"That was a team that held Vanderbilt to 107 yards offense last week and our guys took the challenge" Head Coach Phillip Fulmer
Mississippi State was held to 189 yards of total offense, while only converting four third downs.
The UT offense improved in the second half as well, scoring two touchdowns from 1-yard runs by Montario Hardesty and Lennon Creer.
Tennessee would only score six points in the first half, off of two Daniel Lincoln field goals from 36 and 28 yards out.
Quarterback Nick Stephens finished 10-of-20 for 136 yards. It was Stephens' third straight game without throwing an interception.
Stephens connected with Denarius Moore on a 45-yard pass play in the third quarter. It was Stephens' third straight game with a pass to Moore for 45 yards or more.
"It felt good to come away with a win like this," Stephens said. "I knew what we were capable of and I knew what our offensive line and running game were capable of."
"He continues to manage the game well," Fulmer said. "He made some really nice throws tonight and played well for us."
Creer had a productive game, carrying the ball 17 times for 68 yards and one touchdown. Creer's highlight was leading the team 51 yards on the final scoring drive to cap it off with the score.
"It feels good," Creer said. "It just goes to show they have confidence in me to go out there and make plays."
The bad news for the Volunteers was a pair of injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Wide receiver Gerald Jones and left offensive guard Anthony Parker went down with ankle injuries in the second quarter. Both did not return for the remainder of the game.
"They both had high-ankle sprains," Fulmer said. "We'll see how they are tomorrow."
The Tennessee offense will face a challenge next week, facing an Alabama defense ranked 10th in the nation.
"We had no turnovers tonight and only one penalty," Fulmer said. "If nothing else that shows great progress."
"We're not nearly where we'd like to be yet," he said. "I look out there and see a sophomore at quarterback, tailback, fullback and tight end. They need the time.
"There is still much to be done, but I think this is something we could build on."