5 Tennessee records that will never be broken
They say records are meant to be broken, and in Tennessee’s long football history, many of the Volunteers’ all-time marks have fallen time and time again.
We flipped through UT’s record book, looking for the records — both old and new — that stand the test of time. Some of them have stood for decades, while others are so remarkable that they’ll be near impossible to top for future Vols.
1. 0 points allowed in a regular season (1939) — While a few teams were able to accomplish this long before the modern era of college football, General Neyland’s 1939 team was the last college team to pitch a season-long shutout. That team was the SEC co-champion, along with Georgia Tech and Tulane. UT finally gave up its first points of the season in that season’s Rose Bowl, losing in shutout fashion, 14-0, to Southern Cal. This isn’t a feat that any team is going to pull off ever again, so future Vols need not feel bad about not living up to the ’39 defense.
2. Tee Martin’s 24 consecutive completions (Alabama/at South Carolina, 1998) — Martin’s run of consecutive completions in Tennessee’s national title season in 1998 stands head and shoulders above every competitor on the list. The closest anyone has come to this is a full nine completions short — Erik Ainge’s 15 straight in 2006. Manning isn’t even in the top five for this stat, with his best streak a 12-completion run in 1997. Martin wasn’t the most accurate passer over the course of his career, completing 55.4 percent of his passes over four years, making this stretch — an NCAA record that encompassed his final pass against Alabama and his first 23 the next week against South Carolina — all the more remarkable.
3. 17 straight shutouts (1938-39) — Across 71 quarters, Robert Neyland’s Tennessee teams were as stingy as possible. From the second quarter of a game against LSU on Oct. 29, 1938 until the second quarter of the Rose Bowl the following season on Jan. 1, 1940, the Volunteers allowed exactly zero points. If shutting an opponent out for an entire regular season is mind-boggling, the chances of a team doing it for a season and a half are just as slim.
4. Arian Foster’s 44 all-purpose touches in a game (Vanderbilt, 2005) — Foster was a workhorse throughout his career at Tennessee, finishing atop the school’s all-time carries list with 650, 90 more than the next-most on the list. As the feature back seems to be a thing of the past and teams become smarter about working running backs into the ground, its crazy to think that anyone will come close to Foster’s 44-touch game from 2005, when he had 40 carries for 223 yards and another four catches for 45 yards.
5. Peyton Manning’s 1.05 interception rate in a season, min. 300 attempts (1995) — This is one of the more obscure records in Tennessee history, but it’s held by one of the all-time great players not just in UT history, but in the history of all of college football. In his first year as a starter, he was more careful throwing the ball than any UT quarterback ever. Across 380 attempts, Manning was intercepted just four times. Manning at least doubled that interception rate in his next two seasons at UT, and only one quarterback since has had an interception rate under 2.0 percent throwing that many passes (Erik Ainge).