When South Carolina destroyed Georgia on October 6 by a shocking 35-7 score, the Old Ball Coach had his program ranked 3rd on the 6-0 W/L tally. How times have changed.
Down 7-3 to begin that Dreaded Third Quarter, Tennessee nearly exorcised all those early second half demons. But early in the third quarter, when Prentiss Waggner’s run — after his pass interception near the Vol 45 yard — ended just two yards shy of the goal line, it eerily didn’t seem like the Big Orange would capitalize. A three-yard rushing loss was followed by freshman Vol QB Justin Worley throwing his first collegiate interception.
It was one of multiple opportunities lost.
For the record…
The last two games saw the Vols play well in the first half but get beaten senseless in the second by the Number One LSU Tigers and the Number Two Alabama Crimson Tide. This week provides opportunity to marginalize those losses as inevitable outcomes against the two best teams in the land and provide a springboard to a decent season with a ‘signature win.’ Yes, a win over South Carolina, at home, would count as a signature win.
Recent events have transpired to make this upcoming matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks a very interesting affair.
Those events surrounding the Vols have been well-chronicled here. Tyler Bray goes down with an injury. Matt Simms in Year 2 is the Matt Simms of Year 1, and is thusly benched. Enter a native South Carolinian, true freshman Justin Worley – whose redshirt was burned during the final moments of Bama’s torching of Tennessee – who will make his first collegiate start Saturday night. There has also been the Vols’ habit of imploding in the second half against SEC opponents. And the slow, ponderous Vol secondary has made running downfield routes by our opponents ever more popular.
Every game is a ‘big game’ for Vol fans. That’s what makes us great fans. We care. A lot.
But Saturday’s game against South Carolina is a really Big Game. This team has made it a big game due to psychological concerns – we now have a phobia of, a neurotic aversion to, a downright fear of the Dreaded Second Half.
I had a dream about Saturday’s game…
There is no debate about who are the best two teams in the land. And, there is no debate about who is the best college football player in the land.
Auburn vs South Carolina in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game, and Oregon vs Oregon State in The Civil War clash in Corvallis.
Read what happened, as it happened, as the Ducks and Tigers took their final step in anticipation of facing each other for glory.