ATLANTA — At this point, no motivational tactic employed by Tennessee manager Butch Jones and his staff will equivocate apropos a meme. The Volunteers had a rabble can on their sideline Monday to collect balls taken divided from Georgia Tech.
Other teams use props to applaud turnover commemoration collection. Alabama has a wrestling championship belt that goes to a defender who took a round away. SMU, Austin Peay and Texas AM also use a rabble can. The Aggies’ can reads “Y’all trash.” But usually a Tennessee one—which was around final year and into that a actor who forced a turnover dunks a froth ball—inspires present ridicule, since this is what “Champions of Life” and “Five-Star Hearts” hath wrought. Nothing Jones does will be right until a Vols behind adult his cliches with some-more suggestive wins.
Monday’s 42–41 double-overtime spectacle was an glorious start.
The Volunteers were dead. Georgia Tech physically and statistically dominated a initial 3 quarters. Then Tennessee came behind to get within a touchdown early in a fourth quarter. Then a Yellow Jackets began marching for one final, clock-killing drive. They would have killed it, too. They would have scored a 3 or a 7 points that they indispensable to put divided a Vols, and all those rabble can jokes would have been definitely hiiiiiii-larious.
Except as Georgia Tech behind J.J. Green scampered in a open margin for nonetheless another initial down, Tennessee reserve Rashaan Gaulden knocked a round loose. After a brief Benny Hill skit, Tennessee reserve Micah Abernathy finished adult with a ball. One for a rabble can. Soon after, Marquez Callaway held a brief pass along a sideline, slipped a tackle and raced for a 50-yard touchdown to tie a game. Then, when Georgia Tech had another possibility to finish a diversion with a 36-yard margin idea as time expired, Tennessee walk-on defensive tackle Paul Bain—who sells boots during Champs Sports and grinds equine feed on a plantation to compensate tuition—tipped Shawn Davis’s worm-burner of a kick.
The teams traded touchdowns for dual overtimes before Georgia Tech manager Paul Johnson motionless a diversion indispensable to finish and went for a two-point conversion during a finish of a second overtime. The Yellow Jackets had a ideal play—a opposite choice that would conflict an overloaded right side. They usually indispensable to retard a defensive finish personification on a outward eye of right tackle Will Bryan and a linebacker manning a opening between Bryan and right ensure Shamire Devine. But Bryan attempted to strech retard a finish (Darrell Taylor) when he should have strike a linebacker and let pulling left ensure Parker Braun transparent out Taylor. Taylor slipped a retard and strike Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall, who attempted to representation a round to b-back KirVonte Benson. Had a round been pitched backward, Benson could have picked it adult and run in for a touchdown. But a round went somewhat forward. Incomplete pass. Game over. Afterward, Johnson pronounced he didn’t caring that officials didn’t examination a play to endorse a representation was a brazen pass. “That play was so… That should have been a walk-in,” Johnson said. “We screwed adult a play, so we didn’t merit to win.”
The Vols, who kick Florida and Georgia final year and somehow managed to not win a SEC East (because they mislaid to South Carolina) and not make a Sugar Bowl (because they mislaid to Vanderbilt), were a few degrees on that representation divided from being a fun again. Now? They’re 1–0. Make fun all we please, though a final measure is all that matters.
“We have a lot of grit,” Tennessee’s Jones said. “The downside of that is it’s substantially put 20 years on me.”
Allowing 655 yards on 96 plays will take years off a coach’s life, though Tennessee survived this time. The Vols survived interjection to 23 tackles from linebacker Daniel Bituli. “When we were removing taped today,” Gaulden said, “[Bituli] pronounced ‘I’m going to uncover a universe who we am today.’” The Vols survived interjection to Bain, who done a a biggest play of his career a few miles from his hometown of Marietta, Ga. The Vols survived since Callaway slipped that tackle. The Vols survived since of tailback John Kelly (19 carries, 128 yards, 4 touchdowns), who runs a approach Liam Neeson marks down kidnapped people.
Of march Jones knows a Vols won’t keep winning if they play each diversion a approach they did Monday. “We have to get a lot improved in a hurry,” he said. And they do. Tennessee contingency face Florida and Georgia before Sep ends, and notwithstanding what happened final year, it’s utterly expected a formula of those games will impact a SEC East race.
Jones was asked Monday night because his group seems to justice chaos. “It’s all in how we tell a narrative,” he said. “Maybe this module has good impression and grit.”
It is all about narrative. That’s because Tennessee’s rabble can gets done fun of while Texas AM—which blew a 34-point lead to UCLA on Sunday—can use a receptacle laughter-free. But Jones himself set that account final Nov a impulse “Champions of Life” left his lips. It won’t change until a Vols are champions of something else. That will take a lot some-more wins, though Monday’s spectacle showed that this Tennessee group isn’t about to quit and let a deteriorate get tossed in a trash.