KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Eric Berry shattered a 60-year old Southeastern Conference record with a 72-yard interception return, and Tennessee avoided its worst league start in two decades with a 34-3 win over Mississippi State on Saturday night.
Berry picked off a pass by Tyson Lee with 10:37 left in the fourth quarter and ran it back for a touchdown to put the Vols (3-4, 1-3 SEC) up 20-3.
With the return the sophomore became the SEC's career interception return leader with 397 yards, surpassing Mississippi's Bobby Wilson, who amassed 379 between 1946 and 1949.
The play ignited a Tennessee team that was off to its worst start under coach Phillip Fulmer and sent Mississippi State (2-5, 1-3) reeling further.
The teams entered the game nearly identical in many statistical categories, including total offense, scoring offense and total defense.
But the Vols outplayed the Bulldogs, picking up 275 yards on offense compared to Mississippi State's 189 and gaining 101 interception return yards.
Tennessee had little problem scoring after Berry's interception. Demetrice Morley picked off Lee a minute and a half later and ran 32 yards for a touchdown.