The Tennessee Volunteers are coming on the heels of a heartbreaking 34-31 overtime defeat suffered at home at the hands of the sixth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. It was a potential huge upset victory which narrowly slipped through the hands of Tennessee in its inaugural season under the guide of head coach Butch Jones. Golden opportunities existed for the Vols to triumph both in regulation and in overtime, but they were barely unable to seal the deal and to notch a resounding victory over a top ten team. At the end of regulation, Georgia narrowly evaded stunning defeat with a four-yard touchdown strike delivered by Aaron Murray on third and goal with only five seconds remaining to play. That score sent the game to overtime, a stanza in which the Vols were presented with possibly an even better opportunity to prevail. UT possessed the ball on the initial series in overtime and knocked on the doorstep of punching the ball in to the endzone. Vols athlete Pig Howard carried the ball well inside the five yard line but lost control of it as he stretched the ball out just before the goalline; the ball disastrously rolled out of the side of the endzone, resulting essentially in a turnover to Georgia with no points scored.
Understandably the heartbreaking manner in which their team fell to Georgia made for a tremendous amount of frustration and disappointment surrounding the UT program and its fanbase. But Vols fans should take great solace in the direction the program appears to be headed in. The team exhibited great resiliency in Saturday’s loss, fighting tooth and nail against a far superior team and constantly weathering adversity. Facing a 17-3 halftime deficit, UT refused to fold and gradually climbed its way back in to the game. Then the Vols persevered in overtime following the stunning blow delivered by Georgia to deny them victory at the end of regulation; they marched down the field and narrowly missed out on a potentially decisive touchdown which would have altered the game’s outcome.
Tennessee fans should be greatly encouraged by the valiant effort delivered by their beloved Volunteers in the 34-31 defeat to Georgia. It was a game which truly tested the mettle and resolve of UT, and the Vols responded admirably upon being dealt much adversity. The future appears very bright in Knoxville under Jones’ direction, as he has evidently already instilled an attitude of toughness and resiliency. Combine that with apparently strong recruiting efforts, and the Vols appear primed for a potential return to glory in the near future.
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