The Vols took the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs to overtime, but couldn’t finish the deed.
Butch Jones and his coaching staff deserve credit. Despite being down by two scores at the half, he rallied a lackluster Tennessee team back into the game.
The turning point in the game seemed to be a Tennessee blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown by Devaun Swafford late in the third quarter. This knotted the game up at 17-17, and after that the Vols and Bulldogs exchanged scores.
Finally, a Rajion Neal touchdown run with 1:54 left in the game seemed to seal the win for Tennessee. Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense had other plans. Murray took Georgia down to the goalline, and after some questionable calls by the refs, the offense eventually punched it in.
Georgia won the coin toss at the beginning of overtime and forced Tennessee to play offense first. The decision proved wise because Alton “Pig” Howard fumbled the ball into the endzone resulting in a touchback. The game played out like you would expect and Georgia won with a field goal.
The 34-31 loss was devastating emotionally to the Vols players and coaches. “It kills me, because they have given everything. I feel for our kids,” Butch Jones said in response to the loss.
“It hurts more than any other loss since I’ve been here. We’ve worked so hard in the offseason for moments like these.”, said senior defensive end Corey Miller.
It isn’t all news for the Vols, visiting recruits such as 4-star offensive lineman Drew Richmond reportedly had thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Richmond said, “One of the best times of my life in awhile.” according to his twitter account.
Also fans are rallying around the near win as a testament to how much better the program has gotten since tough losses against Florida and Oregon. It will be interesting to see how the Vols look against South Carolina in two weeks.