Magic ride ends, but Vol Nation, keep your eyes on the big prize
As we wrote about following the streak-ending win over Florida, the enemies of the SEC are numerous and unforgiving. But the hardest foes to vanquish are the ones that reside in your own huddle. Tennessee had somehow eluded those foes for the first five weeks of the SEC season, rolling up the streak-ended over Florida and the Dobbsnail Boot epic over Georgia.
And against Texas A&M, the Vols made tons of plays. They just needed to make one more.
Josh Dobbs passed for a career-high 398 yards, but his final pass resulted in Tennessee’s seventh turnover. And it sealed their 45-38 loss to Texas A&M in double overtime.
Almost every statistic pointed in Tennessee’s favor, except the one that determines games. The Vols outgained the Aggies 684-590. They gained more first downs. They held the ball longer.
They just didn’t take care of it.
In the end, it wasn’t Trevor Knight or Trayveon Williams or Josh Reynolds who downed the Vols, and ended the historic run. It was Tennessee itself — turning the ball over repeatedly, five times by fumble, two interceptions from Dobbs — that finally ended the Vols’ run at a miracle season. When A&M pulled ahead 28-7 early in the third quarter, Tennessee had finally dug a hole from which they could not emerge.
Although they did.
Somehow, they fought back to force overtime, going 80 yards in six plays, scoring the game-tying touchdown with 41 seconds left.
When Texas A&M drove into field goal position but badly missed what would have been a game-winner with 8 seconds left, who didn’t think Tennessee would escape, again, and win in overtime?
Of course it would.
It didn’t, though. After Trevor Knight scored to put the Aggies up 7 in the second overtime, the Aggies’ intercepted Dobbs on Tennessee’s ensuing play.
Just like that, game over. But there are still goals to go.
The loss to A&M isn’t the end of the miracle season– it’s just the end of the first act.
Alabama will visit Tennessee next Saturday and with one upset win, Tennessee moves to the top of not only the East, but perhaps the entire SEC.
It’s a tall task — there’s a reason UT has lost the past nine meetings in the series. But be honest, Vol Nation, the perfect season of your dreams wouldn’t have been capped by an upset in College Station.
It was always capped by knocking off the Tide. And next Saturday, Tennessee has a great chance to do just that, and rewrite the miracle ever so slightly.
So take a deep breath, let it go, and realize that you’ve put Florida and Georgia’s fan bases both in this same position. And start hoping that you can do the same to Alabama’s fan base next Saturday night. The whole SEC will be watching.