Vols Getting Tougher on Third Downs

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Third-down situations suddenly are cause for cheer rather than fear at Tennessee.
Tennessee opponents have converted just seven of their 31 third-down situations through the first two weeks of the season, a remarkable turnaround for a defense that struggled in those scenarios the last few years. Tennessee ranked ninth or lower in the Southeastern Conference in third-down conversion defense each of the last four seasons.
That improved third-down defense faces its biggest test of the season Saturday when the Vols visit No. 4 Oklahoma and attempt to end their recent run of road futility against ranked foes. Tennessee has lost its last 19 road games against Top 25 teams.
Tennessee ranks 13th among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in third-down conversion defense after finishing 92nd in that category last year.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.