MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- John Becksvoort kicked four field goals Saturday, helping No. 23 Tennessee break a three-game losing streak with a 26-21 victory over Memphis State.
The triumph also capped an eventful week for the Tennessee program, which saw Coach Johnny Majors resign Friday under pressure, effective at the end of the season.
Tennessee, 6-3, built a 17-7 halftime lead on a 34-yard field goal by Becksvoort, a 10-yard touchdown pass from Heath Shuler to Ronald Davis and a 2-yard scoring run by James Stewart.
Becksvoort added field goals of 30, 21 and 34 yards in the second half for the Volunteers.
Steve Matthews, a former Tennessee transfer, threw three touchdown passes to Russell Copeland to lead Memphis State. The Tigers, 5-5, lost their second straight game after a five-game winning streak that began with a one-day player walkout.
Matthews completed 20 of 28 passes for 226 yards for the Tigers, including touchdowns to Copeland of 11, 34 and 20 yards. Copeland finished with 10 receptions for 139 yards.
Majors, a former Tennessee player who finished second in the 1956 Heisman Trophy race, ends his 25-year coaching career as the second- winningest coach in Volunteers history.
He missed the first month of the season while recovering from open- heart surgery. Assistant head coach Phil Fulmer guided the Volunteers to wins in all three games, including back-to-back triumphs over Georgia and Florida.
The Volunteers ran their record to 5-0 with wins over Cincinnati and Louisiana State, but were upset by Arkansas and followed with losses to Alabama and South Carolina. That led to calls for Majors to be replaced after 16 years as the school's coach.