|Tennessee beats No. 24 Nebraska 38-24 in Music City Bowl
Music City Bowl
The Associated Press - December 31, 2016
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Joshua Dobbs finished his Tennessee career making one final move, helping All-America defensive lineman Derek Barnett figure out how to lead the band in "Rocky Top."
"I was a little nervous," Barnett said with a laugh.
Dobbs quickly chimed in: "He asked me what to do."
The duo led Tennessee in celebrating after beating No. 24 Nebraska 38-24 on Friday at the Music City Bowl. Dobbs ran for three touchdowns and 118 yards and threw for 291 yards and another score, while Barnett got the sack he needed to break a tie with the late Reggie White for the school career record.
The Volunteers (9-4) beat a Big Ten team in a bowl for a third straight year and notched their first win in three tries against the Cornhuskers. It's the first time Tennessee has won three straight bowls since 1994-1996 when Peyton Manning was quarterback for the Vols.
"Great, great competitor," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said about Dobbs. "I knew he was going to play one of his best games. I was worried he was too amped up before the game. I told him he had four quarters of football, don't win it in the first quarter, take what they give you."
Tennessee took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter and outgained Nebraska 521-318 in total offense in the bowl sponsored by Franklin American Mortgage.
Nebraska (9-4) ended the season with two straight losses. The Cornhuskers lost four of their final six after rising as high as No. 7 in the rankings.
Ryker Fyfe, the fifth-year former walk-on started for injured quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. He pulled Nebraska within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Fyfe threw two TD passes to Brandon Reilly and ran for a 9-yard TD with 10:02 left in the fourth to pull the Cornhuskers within 31-24.
Dobbs answered with a 59-yard TD pass to Josh Malone for the final margin, and Nebraska coach Mike Riley said Dobbs' athleticism was a factor.
"He did a nice job of throwing a lot of balls right on time, but it looked like to me, too, that when it wasn't there, when it wasn't right on time, he moved around, bought time where he moved around and ran," Riley said. "Those plays were hard on us. You know, they had a big impact on that. I think he went for two touchdowns off of scramble plays."