Vols best in the country at not allowing big plays

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

You ask, and we answer.

I noted in the story I did Friday on Tennessee defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin that the Vols’ defense had only given up 14 plays from scrimmage this season of 20 yards or longer.

In addition, they’ve allowed just four plays from scrimmage longer than 25 yards.

Several of you asked how that compares nationally, which is a fair question.

Thanks to the crack staff at ESPN Stats & Information, we have our answer.

The 14 plays allowed of 20 yards or longer is tied for first nationally with Florida, Texas and North Carolina.

But when you go to plays longer than 25 yards allowed, Tennessee has sole possession of first place nationally with four. There’s a three-way tie for second place with six plays allowed.

Clearly, Kiffin has done a terrific job with the Tennessee defense. But judging by some of these same numbers from last season, the Vols weren’t exactly shabby under John Chavis, who’s now heading up the LSU defense.

Tennessee finished in sole possession of first place nationally last season with just 21 plays allowed that were 20-plus yards. And on plays that were longer than 25 yards, the Vols tied with Southern California for the fewest allowed with 11.

The Vols finished tied with Alabama for third nationally a year ago (263.5 yards per game) in total defense. They’re 10th nationally (269.7 yards per game) heading into Saturday night’s game against South Carolina.