KNOXVILLE -- For the second year in a row, Tennessee found the perfect cure for a two-game losing streak: hosting a Mid-American Conference school.
The Volunteers defeated Ohio 34-23 Saturday night to halt a two-game skid, just as they beat Northern Illinois to stop a two-game slide in 2008.
"We're a long way from being a championship team," UT coach Lane Kiffin said. "But half the NCAA lost today, so it's good to get a win. Maybe we can get it to 4-2 by the bye week (Oct. 17)."
That would require the Vols (2-2) to beat Auburn and Georgia in SEC games the next two Saturdays.
"We came into this week preaching we had a tough three-game stretch," said Montario Hardesty, who ran for 133 yards and a touchdown while Jonathan Crompton threw for 222 yards and two TDs with one interception. "Now we can focus on a good Auburn team coming to our house."
Defensive end Chris Walker intercepted a pass in the second quarter and returned it 7 yards to give the Vols a 21-14 lead in the second quarter. And facing a blitz late in the third, Crompton dropped the ball off in the left flat to freshman running back Bryce Brown, who took it 26 yards for a 31-20 lead.
But UT linebacker Nick Reveiz likely is lost for the year with a knee injury.