Anything but This
LSU 16 Tennessee 14
2 Oct 2010 | Tiger Stadium | 92,932Recap | Boxscore | Play-by-play | Drive Chart
LSU scored on the very first play from scrimmage and on the very last play from scrimmage. In between, Tennessee fought their hearts out and left everything they had out on the playing surface of Tiger Stadium. Except for a bizarre event on the final timed play of the game, it was enough to win.
Not only was Tennessee not supposed to win this game, they weren’t supposed to even smell the fourth quarter with a chance to win. Instead, the Vols held a 14-10 advantage with 0:00 left on the clock. Celebrating one of the biggest upsets in recent memory after stopping the Tigers near the goal line, the players wearing the orange shirts on visiting turf had to muster up another defensive play because, in the chaos of the final seconds ticking off the clock at a glacial pace as the Tigers desperately tried to get a play off and as the Vols desperately tried to get substitutions onto the field, Tennessee was whistled for having 13 players on the field.
That gave LSU one more play from the Tennessee 1 yard line. The Tigers suddenly smelled life after breathing their last gasp of air within the jaws of death as they seemed to botch their final chance. The Vols, after dancing on a cloud for a precious few seconds of extreme accomplishment, had to prove one more time that they were worthy of winning a game that was already theirs.
When Stevan Ridley ran the ball into the Vol end zone on the final play – an untimed play due to the defensive penalty – which somehow seemed cruelly inevitable after the officials gave LSU their final chance, the hearts of all Volunteers of any time from everywhere were ripped from their chest.
Completely dominated in yardage statistics, the Vols were able to hang with the Bengals because of game-changing aspects of football: getting possession via turnovers (3 INTs and a fumble recovery) while not giving up the football, committing next to no penalties, and keeping the Tigers from gaining good field position with a good kicking game. Unfortunately, the NCAA doesn’t hand out win slips for playing a near-perfect football game against far superior talent during your first road game in a very hostile environment. The Vols weren’t perfect enough.
There is lingering controversy. If the defense is trying to substitute, the umpire is supposed to allow the defense to get set. Instead, LSU was able to snap the ball before the Vols defense was set, and more importantly, while they had 13 men on the field. The Tigers suddenly had a final lease on life. And there are other observations of what actually occurred in those final few seconds, depending on who is talking. All that will have to be sorted out later, perhaps tomorrow, with a plea from Dooley to the SEC depending on what the game film shows.
But for now, it can be said that it’s official: we’re getting better…
…and what doesn’t kill you will hopefully make you stronger.