Tennessee football: 5 records that could be broken in 2020... and 2 that will never be touched
Tennessee has been playing football for more than 120 years and in that time, legendary athletes have done extraordinary things. But very little in this life lasts forever, including Vols records that have been set over those seasons.
Let’s talk a bit about 5 of the records that could actually fall in 2020 … and 2 that absolutely will never be broken.
Most consecutive field goals in a season: 18
In 1984, Tennessee’s Fuad Reveiz made 18 consecutive field goals. That mark has held for 35 years, and is not only a Tennessee record, but an SEC standard as well. But maybe 2020 will be the year it falls.
Brent Cimaglia will enter his senior season as one of the best kickers in Tennessee history. In 2019 he made 23 field goals while converting on them at an 85% clip. He also banged home 51- and 53-yard kicks. Being a kicker, of course, is not for the mentally weak. Far too often we see even the best of the best fail. But if anyone can keep this kind of stellar consistency, it’s Cimaglia.
Also, if red-zone woes continue for the Tennessee offense in 2020, Cimaglia might get some chip shots to make the job even easier.
Individual rushing yards in a game: 294
In 1989, Chuck Webb gashed Ole Miss for 294 rushing yards, a mark that stands at Tennessee 3 decades later. In a day and age when passing is the go-to play in most offenses, you’d figure that mark might last at least another 3 decades.
But in the final game of the 2019 regular season, freshman Eric Gray showed that he might have what it takes to gain at least 295. Gray torched Vanderbilt for 246 rushing yards, 5th-best in Tennessee history. He also had a 94-yard touchdown run, proving he has the ability to pick up yardage in big chunks.
With Tennessee returning most of what should be a solid offensive line, and with questionmarks at quarterback, its possible that Gray could get the opportunity to take a crack at breaking that record.
2-point conversions in a single season: 5
The 1974 Vols made 5 2 point conversions. I don’t know … it feels like that is a very low mark to stand for all those years. Why can’t the 2020 Volunteers get to 6? Jeremy Pruitt has proven that he’s not afraid to take risks on special teams. What if he took a few more chances on offense? Again, the offensive line should be pretty good, and they have a short-yardage weapon in linebacker Quavaris Crouch, a 6-1, 246-pound battering ram.
If the Vols are going to pull some upsets in 2020, the risk taking likely will increase. Maybe trying to steal a point after a touchdown a few times would be worth the risk?
Fewest rushing attempts allowed in a game: 14
In 1994, Georgia didn’t like to run the football a lot, and did so only 14 times in a loss to Tennessee in Athens.
What’s to say one of the Vols opponents in 2020 goes full Air Raid, and wings the ball all over the field?
That’s a record that has a little more to do with the competition, but hey … records are meant to be broken.
Most receptions in a single season: 76
In 1997, Peyton Manning and Marcus Nash connected a lot: 76 times in fact.
Heading into 2020, the Vols only bring back 1 receiver with more than 4 catches. Josh Palmer had 34 catches in 2019, as Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings got most of the looks from Tennessee’s quarterbacks.
If the inexperienced receivers don’t take a step forward, Palmer might be looked at early and often by Tennessee’s quarterbacks in 2020.
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What about the Tennessee records that will definitely, without a doubt, stand forever?
Here are 2.
1939 regular-season shutout
Tennessee didn’t allow a point during the 1939 regular season. Not 1. In 10 regular-season games, the Vols outscored their opponents 212-0, the last team in college football history to accomplish something so incredible. Yes, the Vols did lose the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day 14-0 to Southern Cal, but that shouldn’t diminish a mark that will never be equaled.
General Robert Neyland built some tremendous defenses during his 3 tenures as the Vols head coach. The 1939 squad was the best of the bunch in terms of scoring… or lack thereof.
Longest rushing play: 99 yards (Kelsey Finch)
On Oct. 22, 1977, Tennessee was backed up at its own 1 at Florida. Running back Kelsey Finch took a handoff, ran through a hole cleared by his center and right guard, and took off for the sideline. At the Gators’ 45 he cut back to the middle and eventually scored a touchdown on that 99-yard sprint. He went untouched on that journey. This is an NCAA record Finch holds with 8 others.
And until college football adopts the CFL standard of a 110 yard field, 99 yards is the longest anyone can be credited with a rushing attempt so yeah … that record will never be broken.
But it sure would be fun if Gray matched it as part of a record-breaking day.