Tennessee gains confidence before facing Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A win over the Southeastern Conference's worst team hardly seems like a confidence booster.

Tennessee's 34-3 victory over Mississippi State was just what the Volunteers' offense needed, though, as it prepares for their biggest game of the season against second-ranked Alabama. Coach Phillip Fulmer says winning helps solve a lot of problems, especially as the Vols have been their own worst enemy at times.

Offensive coordinator Dave Clawson said he saw a bit of a change in the attitudes of his players in the middle of the game as they put together long scoring drives. Lennon Creer ran the ball every down of a 12-play, 51-yard drive late in the fourth quarter and picked up another touchdown on a 1-yard run.

Clawson says that was needed as the Vols get ready for Alabama, which ranks fourth in the nation in rushing defense. Tennessee is hoping its current momentum also gives it a boost early against the Tide. The Vols have scored in the first quarter of only one game this season.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)