Round 2 is here! If you missed part one of this series, you can find it here.
Let’s get back to the warm and fuzzies!
South Carolina, Football, 2014
For the second year in a row, the Tennessee-South Carolina matchup ended with some fireworks. Sure, this years’ Gamecock team was a little bit worse than the previous one, but the 2014 win was still a memorable one for Tennessee fans.
Tennessee would somehow come back and win after falling behind 14 points with just under five minutes left. Josh Dobbs, who had been the man at quarterback for Tennessee for all of half a game, previously, would use this as a jumping off point for a fantastic college career. Dobbs posted 467 yards and five total touchdowns. His 166 rushing yards set the school single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
Dobbs had a a hand in the last two touchdowns to send the game into over time. Once there, Aaron Medley booted a 32-yard field goal to put the game away, and Tennessee escaped South Carolina with their first conference win of the season.
Final: Tennessee 45, South Carolina 42 (OT)
Iowa, Football, 2015
Finally. A damn bowl game.
For the first time in four years, Tennessee was going bowling. Sure, it was the lowly TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, but beggars can’t be choosers. Especially after an up and down season that saw a 3-5 Tennessee team turn it around late against South Carolina and finish the regular season 3-1.
Tennessee would face Iowa in their first bowl game in what felt like forever. And in the end, it wasn’t even close. Tennessee jumped out to an early 28-point lead less than 18 minutes in. Sure, Iowa closed the gap a bit towards the end of the game against Tennessee’s backups. But this was one of the more dominant wins that Tennessee had in recent memory, giving them their first bowl win since the 2008 Outback Bowl.
Final: Tennessee 45, Iowa 28
Georgia, Football, 2015
Depending on how you remember the 2015 season, you either remember it fondly or rancorously. Fondly because of just how many great players got their start on this team. Rancorously because of how this team consistently found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Going into the Georgia game, Tennessee was licking their wounds after three close, disappointing losses in the last four games. They were also riding a five-game losing streak against the Dawgs, who had been a top-10 team the majority of the season. And for the majority of this game, it looked like both of these trends would continue.
Georgia was all set to take a 24-3 lead into halftime, when Tennessee went on a tear and scored two quick touchdowns to close the gap to 24-17 before the half. The run of form extended into the second half for Tennessee, as they outscored Georgia 21-7 in the final 30 minutes.
Of note was a crucial break in a close Tennessee game finally going Tennessee’s way, like they never seem to do. On one of the final drives of the game when Georgia was threatening to tie the game up, Greyson Lambert launched a bomb down the middle of the field to a wide open Reggie Davis. The ball hit Davis right in the chest and fell between his arms to the turf. It could, and probably should have been the game-tying touchdown.
But it wasn’t! No takebacks!
Final: Tennessee 38, Georgia 31
Northwestern, Football, 2016
To punctuate a wild, roller-coaster ride of a season, Tennessee was tabbed to go down to Tampa and play in the Outback Bowl against No. 13 Northwestern on New Year’s Day 2016. And let’s just call this game what it was: an ass whoopin’.
Northwestern only managed to get one touchdown in the game and couldn’t even convert the PAT. Dobbs, Alvin Kamara, Jalen Hurd, and John Kelly all contributed rushing touchdowns of their own. Hurd was finally getting the chance to run out of the I-Formation and Kelly scoring his first touchdown as a Volunteer. Tennessee had nearly 200 more yards of total offense than Northwestern, and that doesn’t even include the 100-yard interception return touchdown from Evan Berry as time expired.
Dominating a top-15 team from a conference that claims superiority over all the rest. The whole nation winning a free Bloomin’ Onion thanks to Tennessee. Tennessee fans chanting “Purple Vandy” towards every Northwestern fan, coach, or player with ears to hear.
It was a great day to be a Tennessee Vol.