This might be my favorite stop so far on our trip down memory lane. Three of the four games in this segment all came during the 2016 football season. Sure, that season ended with a couple of letdowns…but man, for a month, we were kings.
In case you missed them, you can find parts one and two of this series here and here.
Back to it!
Virginia Tech, Football, 2016
Everyone remembers where they were for the Battle at Bristol. It was one of, if not the biggest of spectacles in the entirety of college football history. The college football attendance record was shattered with 156,990 people in attendance. The National Anthem before the game was all-time. Darrell Taylor gave us WGWTFA. And, most importantly, Tennessee dominated.
Virginia Tech jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but the rest of the game was all Tennessee. Josh Dobbs was dominant with five total touchdowns. While the Hokies could barely hold onto the ball, coughing up five turnovers before the night was over. And the best part?
That wasn’t even the best game of September 2016 for Tennessee fans.
Final: Tennessee 45, Virginia Tech 24
Florida, Football, 2016
There were tons of talking points going into this one: Florida’s 11-game win streak over Tennessee, Florida’s starting quarterback Luke Del Rio’s injury, both teams in the top-25 for the first time since 2012, Teez Tabor talking smack, Quincy Wilson’s comment about “ducks pulling trucks.” The Tennessee-Florida game feels like a big game every year, but this one somehow felt bigger than all the rest.
Florida jumped out to a commanding lead early, taking a 21-3 lead into halftime. Florida’s defense, who had only given up two touchdowns through three and-a-half games, was looking like the difference-maker. And, although hampered by injuries, Florida’s offense was getting the job done.
It was the exact opposite in the second half.
Tennessee came storming back with four consecutive touchdowns longer than 20 yards during a 38-0 scoring run. People are still talking about one of the touchdowns where Jauan Jennings routed up and burned “vaunted” cornerback Tabor for an easy score down the right side of the field. Josh Malone outran the entire Florida defense on another. Dobbs had a career day throwing for 319 total yards and Tennessee cruised to the finish line for a huge early season win against hated Florida.
Oh yeah, and the memes were out of control for about a month on Vol Twitter.
This is literally me watching Tennessee beat Florida pic.twitter.com/uODkFx2AHp
— gmannVOLS (@gmannVOLS) September 29, 2016
Final: Tennessee 38, Florida 28
Georgia, Football, 2016
This was the Dobbnail Boot game.
Final: Tennessee 34, Georgia 31
Kentucky, Basketball, 2018
This game was Tennessee coming out to the entire country that they were to be taken seriously as a basketball team. Tennessee had beaten top-25 Kentucky earlier in the season in Knoxville. But it had been a while (12 years) since Tennessee had beaten Kentucky in Lexington, and even longer since Tennessee had beaten Kentucky twice in the same year (1999).
It was a close game throughout. Neither team ever led by more than four points in the second half. This team was full of players that Tennessee basketball fans all know and love: future SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, Jordan Bowden, Jordan Bone, etc. But none of them put their stamp on this game quite like Lamonte Turner did.
Down two points with about 30 seconds left, Turner let one fly from beyond the arc with a defender right in his face and drained it. His shot put a cap on a game leading 16-point outing. The very next possession, Schofield got an easy, breakaway dunk to emphatically put Kentucky away in their own house. for the first time in over a decade.
Final: Tennessee 61, Kentucky 59