2007 Outback Bowl: Tennessee 21, Wisconsin 17
TAMPA, Fla. -- Phillip Fulmer stepped up to the podium and graciously accepted the Outback Bowl trophy.
No. 16 Tennessee overcame injuries, academic suspensions and the impending departure of two key assistant coaches to beat No. 18 Wisconsin 21-17 Tuesday for the Volunteers’ first 10-win season since 2004.
“We’ve been waiting a couple of years to get one of these,” the Tennessee coach said after the Vols erased unpleasant memories of a loss to Penn State in last year’s Outback game and also stopped Wisconsin from becoming only the second Big Ten team to beat Southeastern Conference opponents in three consecutive bowl appearances.
Erik Ainge threw for 365 yards and two touchdowns in his final game for the Vols, who also got a stellar performance from a defense that has improved dramatically since early season losses to California and Florida. Ainge completed 25 of 43 passes without a turnover to win MVP honors.
Antonio Wardlow sealed Tennessee’s first 10-win season in three years when he intercepted Tyler Donovan’s deep throw intended for Paul Hubbard in the end zone in the final minute. The Vols also thwarted another fourth-quarter drive by stopping Wisconsin on downs at the Tennessee 10.
“There’s a lot of things we can take from this game,” Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. “To be able to be in a position that we were, and not come out with a win, it’s a difference of little things along the way from the opening snap to the final snap there at the end.”