Archives for posts with tag: Tennessee

As the calendar closes in on Halloween and the final month of the season in November, the SEC’s named rivalries began to kickoff. The Third Saturday in October, The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry and The Iron Bowl are all part of SEC lore. For these rivalries, we’ll take a look back at the games five, 10, 20 and 30 years ago.

Today — the third Saturday in October — marks the annual Alabama-Tennessee battle. Since the 1992 divisional split, this rivalry has only been played on the actual third Saturday in October six times.

2007: Alabama 41, #20 Tennessee 17 (Tuscaloosa)

In Nick Saban’s first game against Tennessee as Alabama’s head coach, he opened with a recovered onside kick that led to 3-0 lead for the Crimson Tide. They wouldn’t look back and never trailed #20 Tennessee, eventually hammering the Vols in the 2nd half for a 41-17 win. In Philip Fulmer’s final season at Tennessee in 2008, a number of Vols fans sold their home tickets to Tide fans signifying their displeasure with the Vols’ direction. Tennessee hasn’t beaten Saban and Alabama since.

2007 Statistics:

Leading Passer (yards) — Ala. QB John Parker Wilson (32/46 for 363 yds., 3 TDs, 0 INTs)

Leading Rusher — Ala. RB Terry Grant (26 carries for 104 yds., 1 TD)

Leading Receiver — Ala. WR D.J. Hall (13 catches for 185 yds., 2 TDs)

 

2002: #19 Alabama 34, #16 Tennessee 14 (Knoxville)

The 2002 version of the Alabama Crimson Tide lost only two games, and on its way to double-digit victories, it snapped Tennessee’s seven-game winning streak in the rivalry. The 1995-2001 stretch is the Volunteers longest streak in the series. Alabama holds an 11-game mark and is currently on a five-game streak.

The series’ famous “Victory Cigars” were surely lit up in Tuscaloosa after this one.

The video is blurry, but Ron Franklin is on the call (Courtesy of RedElephantStampede). He was SEC Saturday Night, and you wish he still was.

 

 

Alabama QB Jay Barker escapes the Tennessee rush.

1992: #4 Alabama 17, #13 Tennessee 10 (Knoxville)

Alabama would go on to win the 1992 National Championship after defeating Tennessee 17-10. The Tide jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the 2nd quarter, but gave the Vols an opportunity to tie the game in the 4th quarter with a fumble at the Tennessee 48-yard-line with 1:30 left. However, Tennessee QB Heath Shuler threw an interception to end the threat.

 

1982: Tennessee 35, #2 Alabama 28 (Knoxville)

Like the 2002 version of this rivalry, the 1982 game ended a team’s longest streak. Alabama had won 11 straight against the Vols, but Tennessee knocked them off to start a four-game streak of its own from 1982-1985. Vols WR and world-class sprinter Willie Gault, who would later star for the Chicago Bears, struck early in this one.

Long-time Tennessee radio voice John Ward on call (Courtesy of YankeeFanInTenn):

 

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Two weeks ago head coach Steve Spurrier and South Carolina rang up their third consecutive win over Georgia for the first time in their history. Today, they attempt the same feat against Florida. Next week, it’s Tennessee that will try to avoid a third consecutive loss to the Gamecocks. And Clemson is already there, dropping games in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to South Carolina.

The ol’ ball coach has turned things around on each of South Carolina’s rivals, especially since players like former WR Alshon Jeffrey, current RB Marcus Lattimore and DE Jadeveon Clowney have decided to stay home and play for the Gamecocks.

Lattimore had 212 yards rushing and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2010 against Florida in Gainesville as South Carolina clinched its first SEC East title, defeating the Gators 36-14. A Gatorade shower followed for Spurrier and he was carried off the field that he coined as “The Swamp” as Florida’s head coach on his players’ shoulders.

There goes Marcus. (Courtesy: Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images)

Florida senior safety Josh Evans was quoted this week as saying, “That’s a feeling you’ll never forget. It’s definitely revenge, man.”

Today’s game marks the first time in 33 meetings that both teams are in the top 10, a similar storyline to the South Carolina-Georgia game two weeks ago.

A Gamecock win today would be South Carolina’s biggest road win in its history. In 1981, they beat #3 North Carolina and the dominant Lawrence Taylor in Chapel Hill 31-13. If they beat #2 Florida today, it will be another “first” or “best” for the Gamecocks.

They’re getting used to that in Columbia.

The last time Mississippi State defeated Tennessee, the year was 1994 and a freshman quarterback named Peyton Manning took over starting duties after Tennessee quarterbacks Todd Helton (of Colorado Rockies fame) and Jerry Colquitt were hurt. Mississippi State beat the freshman quarterback that day on a 4th down touchdown, but Manning never looked back.

State’s game winning drive:

 

Georgia will honor its former radio broadcast announcer Larry Munson tomorrow by officially naming Sanford Stadium’s broadcast booth as the “Larry Munson Broadcast Suite.” Today would have been Munson’s 90th birthday.

The Bulldogs host Tennessee tomorrow. Munson coined the first big moment of the Mark Richt era in 2001 as “Hobnail Boot” when Georgia upset the Vols in Knoxville on a last-second touchdown.

A plaque outside the Larry Munson Broadcast Suite will read:

“Dedicated to legendary Bulldog play-by-play announcer Larry Munson who served as the voice of the Bulldog Nation from 1966-2008. His dedication, loyalty, passion and extraordinary delivery over 42 years endeared him to Georgia fans in every city, state, and nation around the world, always urging the teams, and the fans, to ‘hunker down you guys.'”

Photos during Munson’s career will be displayed in the broadcast suite.

Alabama 52, Arkansas 0

SB Nation: Near-Perfect: Alabama’s Weaknesses Are Few and Far Between

Sports Illustrated: Arkansas Loses More Than a Game in Humiliating Defeat to Alabama

Florida 37, Tennessee 20

Yahoo! Sports: Strong Finishes Lead to Fast Start for Florida

Sports Illustrated: Tenn. Loses Leading Tackler Randolph to Torn ACL


Texas 66, Ole Miss 31

Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Defensive Changes Afoot After Ole Miss’ Blowout Loss to Texas

Tennessee’s long-awaited breakthrough against Florida came in 1998 as the Vols won 20-17 in overtime. Florida kicker Collins Cooper missed a game-tying field goal in overtime. Legendary Tennessee radio announcer John Ward, in his final season with the Vols, delivered one of his classic calls as the kick sailed wide left and Tennessee fans rushed the field.

“So the score, Tennessee 20, Florida 17 and the Gators with a field goal made will tie the game. Snap, the kick this time is…No Sir-ree! No Sir-ree! Final score, Tennessee 20, Florida 17! Pandemonium reigns!”

Unfortunately, the following video cuts off before Ward’s classic line of “pandemonium reigns,” but it captures the relief and joy felt by Vols players, coaches and fans after losing 5 consecutive games to Florida.

 

Tennessee tries to break Florida’s current streak of 7 consecutive wins over the Vols on Saturday night in Knoxville. Florida leads the overall series 22-19, a series once led by Tennessee 10-0.

Expansion came to the SEC in 1992 in the form of two new teams — Arkansas and South Carolina — and a new SEC Championship Game, first played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., and then moved to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in 1994. While the first SEC Championship Game almost ruined #2 Alabama’s and the SEC’s chances at their first national championships since 1979 and 1980, respectively, the Crimson Tide eventually overcame Florida 28-21 and blasted #1 Miami (Fla.) 34-13 in the 1993 Sugar Bowl to claim it all.

Florida’s HC Steve Spurrier and QB Danny Wuerffel claim the program’s first national championship in the 1997 Sugar Bowl.

While Florida met Alabama in four of the first five SEC championship games (’92, ’93, ’94, ’96), it was the Gators’ new rivalry with the SEC East’s perennial 2nd-place team Tennessee that sparked so much interest nationally for the conference each September throughout the 1990s. Florida strung together four consecutive SEC championships from 1993-1996 that hadn’t been accomplished since Bear Bryant’s Alabama teams as Steve Spurrier brought a different winning style to the SEC through the air. Spurrier capped it off with the 1996 national championship, the first in Florida’s history.

Meanwhile, Philip Fulmer took over for Johnny Majors in east Tennessee in 1992 and promptly positioned the Vols as Florida’s main obstacle to the SEC East crown. His Vols beat Spurrier’s Gators in 1992, but wouldn’t again until 1998 on their way to Tennessee’s first national championship since 1951.

For 6 years, Fulmer dealt with blow after blow from Florida on the field and quip after quip from Spurrier off it.

Perhaps Spurrier’s best recognized shot at Tennessee during those years was his quote about the Volunteers regularly playing in the Citrus Bowl, the bowl season’s home to the SEC’s 2nd-place team.

“You can’t spell Citrus without the U and T,” jabbed Spurrier.

Heightening matters was the fact that Spurrier is originally from east Tennessee before playing his college football at Florida and winning the 1966 Heisman Trophy as a quarterback.

Not even top recruit and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, who directed the Vols at quarterback from 1994-1997, could break through against the Gators. He led Tennessee to the 1997 SEC championship during his senior year, but took his 4th loss to Florida earlier that season.

Tennessee’s HC Philip Fulmer and QB Peyton Manning couldn’t get it done against Florida in four tries together.

Tee Martin took Tennessee’s quarterback reigns in 1998 as the Vols finally knocked off the Gators in overtime in Knoxville — a win, as stated earlier, that eventually led Tennessee to the 1998 national championship.

The Florida-Tennessee rivalry ushered in the SEC’s new expansion era in the 1990s as television coverage exploded across the country. Between highly touted recruits and lofty national rankings, the rivalry was annually pointed to as the biggest September game of the season.

While it’s not #2 versus #4, Florida and Tennessee meet in Knoxville this Saturday night with both ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in many years and ESPN College Gameday in tow. That ’90s feeling is back, if only slightly.