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Unleash the Freak

By Chris Martin
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 28, 2000
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Break out the Jack Daniels and find your favorite Elvis suit because Tennessee is going Super Bowl crazy.

The Titans, formerly the Houston Oilers, are poised to become the inaugural champions of the "Relocation Bowl," or as the media types like to put it, the Super Bowl.

Tennessee faces a daunting challenge with key injuries to quarterback Steve McNair (turf toe), wide receiver Yancey Thigpen (broken foot) and safety Eddie Robinson (broken ankle).

Although Thigpen and McNair will play, it is crucial to the Titans' success that they are able to play well and keep up with the high-powered St. Louis passing offense.

To contain the Lambs offense, the Titans will rely on a stingy defense lead by Defensive Rookie of the Year Jevon Kearse, a.k.a. "The Freak."

After witnessing Tampa Bay's defense beat down on Kurt Warner, the Titans realize that Warner becomes easily rattled once he begins to be hit and hit often.

Expect Kearse to lineup opposite of Lambs right guard Adam Zimmerman and continually meet Warner behind the line of scrimmage to give him his daily dose of AstroTurf.

The Titans should excel defensively because the St. Louis offense is out of sync after the NFC Championship. However, the challenge lies with Tennessee's offense.

The Lambs defense, though underrated, is susceptible to the big play. Look for McNair to utilize both his strong arm and outstanding scrambling ability to leave the St. Louis defense scrambling.

Aside from McNair, the Lambs can expect a lot from running back Eddie George. George will run through, over and around the undersized St. Louis linebackers, especially London Fletcher.

Look for George to gain at least 150 yards and find the end zone once he becomes the "Relocation Bowl" MVP.

The key to the game will be special teams, though, where the Titans have become legendary this year with what has been called the "Miracle in the Music City."

The Lambs are at a severe disadvantage because kicker Jeff Wilkins' injured knee has left him with the accuracy and strength of say, hmmm, Mark McDonald.

With this in mind, it is quite obvious the Titans will move past Mr. Jack Daniels and Mr. Jim Beam as the state's icon. Well, maybe not because Tennessians love their whiskey, but let the Titans have their 15 minutes of fame.

Tennessee 24, St. Louis 21

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