Tennessee avoided what would have been it’s first 8-loss season. The Vols also avoided a first-ever winless SEC season. But that is not the real story of this game. Read More…
With 12 minutes left to play in the second quarter, it looked like Georgia’s 17-point lead would increase by the minute to the point where CBS would announce that at halftime they were switching to another game, any game, to prevent the nation from viewing the continuing carnage.
Instead, Tennessee would hold the lead before halftime after three unanswered touchdowns. It was a game that by the fourth quarter had turned into a football war — one fitting for this rivalry series already filled with crazy, memorable games.
Beginning with Tyler Bray’s pass that was intercepted and returned for an Akron touchdown on just the fourth play of the game, Tennessee found themselves in a difficult position for much of this game. It wasn’t until the Vols were able to get their third interception deep into the final quarter that Big Orange Country was able to exhale.
For the neutral fan, this was a highly entertaining game. A tally of 977 total yards, 630 of which were in the air, will tend to create that kind of enjoyable viewing. But for the Volunteer fan, this was anything but fun. There were visions of a season-destroying loss that kept appearing in the collective consciousness of the Vol Nation.
It is the Tennessee Volunteers that are running an up-tempo, no-huddle, blitzkrieg offense instead of the Florida Gators whose offensive strategy is to slow the tempo down and milk the play clock as much as possible.
A shift in the balance of offensive weapons.
It’s funny how a single victory can turn around the entire vibe of a college program. But that is exactly what has happened with the Tennessee win Friday evening over NC State.
It is easier for that to happen with a season opener after a bad season rather than a late-season win after a few losses in the same season. A record of 1-0 with an impressive performance means that all things are possible. An upset victory getting your team to 3-5 means that you just might go bowling at the most.
The air is fresher, the grass a brighter green, the flowers more fragrant. It feels like a brand new world. That’s the first scenario.
Everything still stinks. That’s the second scenario.
Derek Dooley did his best to dampen runaway expectations on Friday night by saying that this win is just that – only a single win. A record of 1-0 doesn’t mean anything other than you are 1-0.
Nice try, coach.
Georgia (3-2) on a 3-game win streak come a-callin’ for a game that is understatedly crucial for both sides.
This year’s edition of one of the more entertaining rivalries in the league is being billed as Georgia’s moment to secure SEC East favorite status. The Gators and Gamecocks have QB problems. Nobody is taking the Vols seriously. A win over Tennessee could be followed with Bulldog victories against Vandy, the Gators, Auburn, and Kentucky.