Peerless is defined as “without equal; matchless.” On Monday, January 4, in the first Bowl Championship Series championship game, Tennessee’s Peerless Price proved worthy of his name.
The senior wide receiver caught four passes for a career-high 199 yards, including a 79-yard game-clinching touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, to lead the Volunteers to a 23-16 victory over Florida State in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl.
The win gave Tennessee the school’s second national championship of all-time – the first came in 1951 – and lifted the Vols to a 13-0 record, the best in school history.
With thousands of orange-wearing, “Rocky Top”-singing Tennessee fans among the Fiesta Bowl record crowd of 80,470, the Volunteers jumped ahead 14-0 with two touchdowns in a 25-second span in the second quarter.
The first touchdown was set up by a 76-yard pass from Volunteer quarterback Tee Martin to Price to take the ball to Florida State’s 12-yard line. Four plays later, Martin hit fullback Shawn Bryson out of the backfield for a four-yard touchdown pass. On the Seminoles’ next possession, Tenn-essee cornerback Dwayne Goodrich intercepted a pass and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown.
Florida State came back with nine unanswered points on a 1-yard touchdown run by William McCray and a short field goal by Sebastian Janikowski to cut the lead to 14-9 at halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, Martin threw a perfect pass down the right sideline that Price caught and ran the distance for a 79-yard touchdown reception. Jeff Hall added a 23-yard field goal for Tennessee, and Florida State quarterback Marcus Outzen ran seven yards for a touchdown for the final margin.
Price set Fiesta Bowl records for longest reception (79 yards) and highest average per catch (49.7 yards). He was named the offensive player of the game, while Goodrich was honored with the defensive player of the game, despite missing the second half with an ankle injury.