KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Jonathan Crompton threw for two touchdowns as Tennessee beat in-state rival Vanderbilt 31-16 on Saturday night.
After missing the postseason last year, the Volunteers (6-5, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) became bowl eligible with the victory. The Commodores (2-10, 0-8) finished without a conference win for the first time since 2002.
Vanderbilt had a chance to tie the game before halftime but stalled on fourth-and-2 at the Tennessee 38 with 51 seconds left. Instead, Tennessee drove for a quick touchdown to go up 24-10.
Vandy's Steven Stone was called for a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty, and Crompton was perfect on four pass attempts. His 16-yard TD pass to Luke Stocker capped the 30-second drive.
Crompton finished 20-for-34 for 221 yards with an interception. Montario Hardesty ran for a career-high 171 yards and a touchdown.
The Vols struggled to move the ball in the second half, and Vanderbilt had a shot to pull within 4 points with about 6 minutes left.
On third-and-goal at the 3, MacKenzi Adams attempted a pass for John Cole in the end zone. The ball bounced off Cole and into the hands of Tennessee's Dennis Rogan, but a pass interference call on Rogan kept the Commodores' drive alive.
With a fresh set of downs, Vanderbilt couldn't move the ball, and Adams took a sack for a loss of 9 yards. Ryan Fowler kicked a 32-yard field goal to make the score 24-16 with 2:54 left, and the Commodores couldn't pull any closer.
Adams was 19 of 35 for 174 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Vandy's Warren Norman had 73 yards rushing and 61 yards on kickoff returns. Norman's 1,923 all-purpose yards broke Herschel Walker's SEC freshman record of 1,805. He also became the Commodores' single-season leader for all-purpose yards.
Crompton's third-quarter interception ended a streak of 142 straight pass attempts without one, one shy of Casey Clausen's school record of 143.
After struggling to find consistency on field goals with an injured Daniel Lincoln and punter Chad Cunningham, Tennessee introduced Devin Mathis as its new kicker. Mathis, who got the call this week to join the team, hit a 25-yard field goal and connected on three extra point attempts.
Mathis was a walk-on last season and nearly earned a starting job as Lincoln struggled. He spent the spring semester studying in Mexico and did not participate in the Vols' fall camp.
Tennessee finished its senior day in style when senior defensive tackle Wes Brown, who's played with injured knees for the past two seasons, intercepted Adams and ran 25 yards for a touchdown with 3 seconds left. His teammates piled on top of him in the end zone.