Posted on October 02, 2016, by Travis Pulver
Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones must have been a saint or something in a past life. Either that or his later years are going to be filled with some terrible stuff. How else can the incredible run of luck he’s been having of late be explained?
First, there was the come-from-behind win in overtime against Appalachian State to start the season; a game in which his team played pretty bad. They managed to hold off the Ohio Bobcats with another lackluster effort. Against Florida, they appeared dead in the water during the first half only to roar back in the second half to beat the Gators 38-28.
Then came Saturday’s game against Georgia. Talk about luck.
Much like it had in other games this season, the Tennessee offense looked terrible in the first half. They gained all of 27 yards on their first three drives, punted twice, gained two first downs, punted twice, and fumbled once. On their fourth drive, they finally appeared to get it together but fumbled the ball away.
After Georgia had scored again to take a 17-0 lead, it was beginning to look a little dark for the Volunteers once again. But then on the final drive of the first half, Joshua Dobbs took the team down the field and scored on a four-yard run to cut the deficit to 17-7.
So in spite of how they played throughout the first half, they were only down 10 points. Tennessee came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and quickly cut the deficit down to three when Joshua Dobbs connected with Jalen Hurd on a 19-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-17.
The second half was much more competitive than the first, but the fun didn’t get started till late in the fourth quarter. Down 24-21, Tennessee punted the ball back to Georgia with less than four minutes to play, pinning them on the six-yard line.
This is where it got interesting.
Two plays later, Derek Barnett sacked Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason in the end zone. Eason fumbled, Tennessee’s Corey Vereen recovered, and just like that the Volunteers took a 28-24 lead.
Georgia still had a chance but threw an interception on their next drive. The Bulldogs defense gave the offense another chance by forcing a three and out on Tennessee’s next possession, but with a minute left and 81-yards to cover, it wasn’t looking good.
But then the improbable happened. After a couple of short completions, Eason connected with Riley Ridley on a 47-yard touchdown bomb to put the Bulldogs up again, 31-28—but Georgia made one mistake. They left 10 seconds on the clock.
Plenty of time for the Volunteers to run one play—and what a play it was. Butch Jones said after the game that the team was going to run one of those crazy lateral plays, but he overruled because “he had a feeling.”
His “feeling” was right. Jauan Jennings out jumped the masses and hauled in a 43-yard touchdown pass from Dobbs.
“We have the most competitive team in the nation,” Dobbs said after the game. “There’s no quit in this team.”
Final score—Tennessee 34, Georgia 31.
The Bulldogs will try to rebound against a struggling South Carolina team. Tennessee will have to travel to College Station for a tough one against Texas A&M.