Kentucky vs. Tennessee | 27 Nov 2010 | Neyland Stadium
12:21 pm EST | SEC Network/ESPN3.com
Let’s not forget what Saturday really is.
Kevin Cooper, Chad Cunningham, Savion Frazier, Gerald Jones, Daniel Lincoln, Ben Martin, Denarius Moore, Nick Reveiz, Jerrod Shaw, Luke Stocker, Victor Thomas, LaMarcus Thompson, Chris Walker, Gerald Williams, and Tyler Wolf.
These are the senior lettermen. These are The Group That Never Quit, so eloquently named by senior wide receiver Gerald Jones.
Here we are once again, in anticipation of facing a long-standing adversary who would like a win more than oxygen to live. The Kentucky Wildcats desperately want to erase a slate currently littered with embarrassing numbers. We had better be ready and equipped with our A-game.
Tennessee 52 Mississippi 14
13 Nov 2010 | Neyland Stadium | 96,044Recap | Boxscore | Play-by-play | Drive Chart
The Tennessee Vols looked like a bunch of youngsters with their whole lives ahead of them, without a care in the world. The Ole Miss Rebels looked old, tired, confused, and not up to the challenge.
As predicted, Tyler Bray used a beautiful autumn afternoon to cement his place as the Vols’ QB. All he did was display a cool, calm, almost a caution-to-the-wind demeanor, throwing 18-of-34 for 323 yards, 3 TDs, and no INTs.
Furthermore, he gave this football program a fresh coat of beautiful, orange paint. Yes, he made mistakes today, including many throws that were not nearly as accurate as desired, but he made some drop-dead, beautifully-paced throws to receivers who are beginning to believe that Christmas happens every Saturday.
After all, Santa Claus is now a tall, skinny dude from the southern San Joaquin Valley.
Tennessee 50 Memphis 14
06 Nov 2010 | Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium | 39,742Recap | Boxscore | Play-by-play | Drive Chart
One of the most fascinating art exhibits I’ve seen included several unfinished sculptures of Michelangelo in Florence. It’s one thing to see the finished product, but it’s quite another experience to see a piece of marble that has been only partially cut – one from which the human form is partially poking through the rawness of the native rock, showing the immense but still unrealized potential of the raw cut. It leaves one contemplating the possibilities.
Call me a dreamer, but that was the image that came to mind as the first half was coming to an end Saturday night in Memphis.
South Carolina 38 Tennessee 24
30 Oct 2010 | Williams-Brice Stadium | 79,336Recap | Boxscore | Play-by-play | Drive Chart
Back-breaking turnovers by the mistake-prone Vols in the early minutes of the second half allowed South Carolina to put up enough points to keep a resilient Tennessee team from pulling off a huge upset that could have resulted in Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks giving the SEC East crown away.
In between those giveaways, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley pulled what this observer saw as a bizarrely timed QB substitution. Just before entering the dressing room at the half of a 10-10 contest, Dooley summarized to the TV sideline reporter what it would take to give the Vols their first conference win: “mental, emotional, intellectual stamina.” Dooley was not willing to lay anything on a lack of talent, size, and other physical attributes. He put it directly inside the heads of his players.
Florida 31 Tennessee 17
18 Sep 2010 | Neyland Stadium | 102,455
Recap | Boxscore | Play-by-play | Drive Chart
Tennessee brought a 60-minute game to the Florida Gators Saturday afternoon, but in the end, it was an audacious call by Urban Meyer, and Florida’s ability to continually respond to the Vols’ best efforts, that led the Gators to a win in the SEC opener for both schools.
Oregon vs. Tennessee | 11 Sep 2010 | Neyland Stadium
7:00pm EDT | ESPN2 and ESPN3.comI’ve been looking forward to this one for some time, as I love intersectional games. One of the most exciting, dynamic football programs comes to Knoxville Saturday night as the defending Pac-10 champions, ranked #7 in the AP poll (#8 in the Coaches’ poll). This year’s starting squad brings 17 out of 22 back from last season. More than relying on just experience, the Ducks kill their prey with speed and physical play within a very disciplined construct on both sides of the ball, including special teams. They are simply very, very good in every facet of the game. Read More…
After you subtract the 55 yards the Vols lost by Jonathan Crompton getting sacked six times, Tennessee was left with 5 net yards rushing on Thursday night. Five. Thank goodness Montario Hardesty was able to get all 39 yards, or we would have been deep into negative numbers.
Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin was quoted as saying “I was surprised we weren’t able to run the ball better.”
You and the entire Vol Nation, Lane.
Tip your orange hats to the Hokies, because they handed the orange arses back to the Vol players. Especially to Tennessee’s offensive line.
The Hokies were known as a great defensive squad against the pass, but known as a vulnerable unit against good running teams. The Hokies were known as one of the worst pass rush protection offensive lines in Division I, and the Vols were highly recognized as one of the nation’s best offensive lines against the dreaded sack.
I guess the magnetic field of the earth switched poles while everybody was busy unwrapping Christmas gifts last week.
It was the night of a blue moon after all… Read More…
The self-proclaimed biggest game ever played for a generation of Kentucky football fans in front of 70,981 turned into more of the same Saturday night:
- A dog-fight of a Boarder-State Rivalry War; and
- A Tennessee victory.
With a win on Saturday, Kentucky would have fulfilled a string of significant accomplishments for their improving program under coach Rich Brooks.
- An 8-4 regular season, the first 8-win regular season since 1984.
- A second place finish in the SEC East for the first time since the realignment of the conference in 1992 and best SEC finish since 1977 (when they tied for first with Alabama).
- A likely New Years’ Day bowl date for the first time since the 1998 season (Outback Bowl, Jan 1, 1999 vs Penn State).
- And perhaps, most importantly, an end to The Streak – 24 consecutive losses to their bitter, long-time, border state rival.
But, would have didn’t materialize. Read More…
” the Vandy UT rivalry is all about pride. And about what is best for Tennessee.. and shows the best for Tennesse”
And a gentleman dressed in Orange standing next to him replied:
“And that was a damn good answer”
But above all, appreciate the performer you saw on the field, even though he wore blue and gray.
Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster carried the ball 25 times. He gained 282 yards. That’s an average of over 11 yards a carry.
He scored 4 TDs on runs of 15, 23, 32, and 77 yards.
He also gained 42 yards on 4 pass receptions. That’s 324 all-purpose yards.
Dexter broke the all-time Ole Miss records for most rushing yards in a game (formerly 242 yards by Dou Innocent in 1995) and most all-purpose yards in a game (formerly 317 yards by Deuce McAllister in 1999).
If Ole Miss had been playing anybody else, that would have been exciting to watch. Another performance showing the excitement of college football.
But it was against the Vols. And it was the most rushing yards ever given up by Tennessee to an opposing rusher. Ever. He busted it by 65 yards, formerly co-held by Mike Prichard (Colorado 1990) and Bobby Humphrey (Alabama 1986), both with 217 yards. And according to Knoxville’s Jimmy Hyams on the radio, McCluster became only the second opponent to rush for 4 TDs against Tennessee, equaling the mark of Southern Cal great Marcus Allen back in 1981.
Oh, and Dexter McCluster’s 282 rushing yards on Saturday were more yards gained on the ground than any team against the Vols this season.
A humbling end to a very bad week.
WARNING: After the jump, there are a lot of photographs of Dexter McCluster enjoying open-field running. Read More…