Welcome back, Vols, to the bowl game scene.
A one-year layoff seems like a decade. That sentiment seems like it was motivation for Vol defensive tackle Wes Brown and company. ”It’s all been about hard work and pulling together under coach Kiffin and really believing in each other,” Brown said upon arriving in Atlanta on Christmas. “We had a year last year where we were sitting at home for Christmas, and it was terrible to be honest with you. None of us wanted that again. We all went to work and made a promise to each other that wasn’t going to happen again. We were going to go somewhere, we’re going to end up somewhere and have a good time in January or December.”
Indeed it is good to be back playing in December/January. Considering our season’s performance, I think the opponent, the venue, and the date (a New Year’s Eve night) is a great way to end our season. We are fortunate to be where we are right now, and I’m looking forward to the challenge that the Hokies will give us. The matchup is terrific in many aspects. Here are my views on what should be a very entertaining game. Read More…
One of the aspects of college sports that distinguishes it from its professional counterpart is that your team’s players are generally more ephemeral and on a more predictable basis. And one of the great traditions is saying goodbye to the seniors. It is always their team. And saying goodbye, in the proper way, is important. Tennessee does that. This year’s Vanderbilt game was Senior’s Day, where each senior player was allowed to go through the famous “T” individually rather than as part of the team. I just got chills writing that sentence.
So here is my tiny salute to our seniors, the leaders of this year’s version of our Tennessee Volunteers. I’m thankful we will have one more look – at least at most of them – on New Year’s Eve. Admittedly, preparing this list introduced me to a couple of you them the first time.
So here’s to the seniors. From Brown to Williams.
Goodbye. It seems like we hardly got to know them. A list follows the jump. 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…
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…