Nothing to it, folks. All it took was a fairly ordinary miracle.
Tennessee defeated Georgia Tech in two overtimes, 42-41, by finally stopping a runaway quarterback on a two-point try for victory.
Sophomore defensive end Darrell Taylor provided the dramatic ending to a very laborious Labor Day in Atlanta. He walloped TaQuon Marshall on a cutback attempt. Nothing like that had previously happened. The 5-10, 185-pound junior was superman. He ran 44 times for 249 yards and five touchdowns.
There were several object lessons.
Georgia Tech rushed for 535 yards, most ever permitted by a Tennessee defense. That was three yards short of enough.
Georgia Tech often overwhelmed the Vols at the line of scrimmage. The Yellow Jackets dominated time of possession. They ran with the ball 84 times. The orange team couldn’t get it away from them but it never quit trying.
Butch Jones said his team had to have a few playmakers. Receiver Marquez Callaway stepped up. John Kelly ran as if the devil himself was in pursuit. Kelly scored four touchdowns.
Rashaan Gaulden chased down a speeding Techster and caused a fumble. Paul Bain blocked a field-goal attempt that could have decided the game.
And Quinten Dormady, in his first start at quarterback, got better and better as he went along. He led a 93-yard scoring drive in the closing minutes of regulation to give his team hope.
Wait just a minute, Coach Jones said the Vols had that all along, and a burning will to win even when they looked like sure losers.
The defensive scheme against Tech’s triple option was not very good. Tackles failed to hold their ground. Linebackers Daniel Bituli and Colton Jumper combined for 41 stops but too many were after sizable gains. The secondary made some of the mistakes it make last season. It got beat deep. Tech piled up yardage and made it look easy.
Tennessee’s offense was very shaky in the beginning. Dormady was wild and receivers couldn’t catch the decent throws. There were six drops.
The defense was on the field a disproportionate amount of time, 41 minutes and 27 seconds. At times it looked very tired.
The offensive line, originally thought to be the strength of the Vols, did make progress. It allowed no sacks.
The outcome gave Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson a new outlook. Last year he had a lot of fun with three convincing victories over Southeastern Conference teams. The way last night ended wasn’t nearly as much fun.
Marvin West invites reader reaction. His address is firstname.lastname@example.org