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Foster leads Tennessee to rout of UL-Lafayette

Nov 4, 2007 - 12:52 AM KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Arian Foster helped Phillip Fulmer return to the scene of his first win.

Foster rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns as No. 24 Tennessee posted a 59-7 non-conference victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.

Erik Ainge completed 16-of-23 attempts for 125 yards and a TD for Tennessee (6-3) which has won two straight following a 41-17 defeat to Southeastern Conference rival Alabama two weeks ago.

It was the second time the Volunteers have defeated the Ragin' Cajuns. On September 5, 1992, Tennessee drilled Louisiana-Lafayette, 38-3, to give Fulmer his first win as a head coach.

"It was great to get the win," Fulmer said. "I'm really proud of our football team's preparation during the week. We worked a lot on fundamentals. It will be interesting to see (on film) how much that actually showed up."

Fifteen years later, Foster helped hand Fulmer his 143rd career win.

After the 6-1, 225-pound junior gained 48 yards on a 13-play opening-game drive that led to Daniel Lincoln's 24-yard field goal, Foster dove over from 1 yard out 22 seconds into the second period to give the Volunteers a 10-0 lead.

Just under five minutes later, Foster capped a seven-play drive with a 4-yard TD run to increase the lead to 17.

"It's a confidence builder anytime you can put a lot of points on the board like that," Foster said. "The defense held them to seven points, so it was a confidence builder for them as well."

Foster, who carried the ball 20 times, had 86 total yards in the first half.

"(Offensive coordinator David) Cutcliffe said we had to go out and put it on them," said Foster, who also surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for his career. "It's a good accomplishment, I guess. You look at the records here, and the guys that did it. ... there's a lot of talent here. I'm proud of it."

Defensive end Antonio Reynolds intercepted a pass from Ragin' Cajuns quarterback Michael Desormeaux and returned it 70 yards with 90 seconds left in the period to give Tennessee a 24-0 halftime lead.

"Antonio looked like a truck running down there," Fulmer said. "I didn't think he'd ever get there, but he knew what to do with it when he caught it, and ended up with a convoy. It was great to see the defense score."

Ainge threw a 5-yard score to wide receiver Quintin Hancock in the third quarter to make it 31-7 before defensive back Antonio Wardlow returned a block punt 20 yards to make it a blowout.

"We put a whole game together, and that's what we're looking to do every time," Ainge said.

The Volunteers, who rushed for 269 yards in Fulmer's first game vs. Louisiana Lafayette, ground out 273 in this one.

"This is three (straight home games) we've led by a (combined) score of 73-0 at halftime," Fulmer said. "Our defense has pitched shutouts (in the first half)."

Desormeaux went 13-of-25 for 95 yards and an interception for the Ragin' Cajuns (1-8), who have lost three straight.

"Tennessee is a heck of a football team, and I thought that coming in," Louisiana Lafayette coach Rickey Bustle said. "They have great speed and have one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Their running backs all run hard too. We were out-manned in some positions and there's no doubt about that."