Butch Jones has been relieved of his coaching duties at the University of Tennessee. There have many lows, certainly, but everything hasn’t been awful.
Hey, I’m not kidding!
Let’s look back at the top moment from each year of the Butch Jones era. And I promise… there will be no clichés.
On October 19th, Tennessee welcomed 11th-ranked South Carolina to Neyland Stadium. The Vols were 3-3 and coming off a heartbreaking 34-31 overtime loss to 6th-ranked Georgia two weeks prior.
It looked like the Vols were going to lose another close game when Marquez North made a spectacular one-handed catch on a football thrown by Justin Worley. That 39-yard hookup brought the Vols to the Gamecocks 26-yard-line.
Marlin Lane carried the football four straight times to the USC 2-yard-line. Michael Palardy booted home a 19-yard field goal as time expired and the Vols had an improbable 23-21 win.
Incredibly, that would be the highest ranked opponent that Butch Jones defeated in his Tennessee tenure.
The Vols would finish the season at 5-7, missing a bowl game for the third straight year.
Honorable mention: Not much to choose from. The Vols did complete the schedule with a 27-14 win at Kentucky.
On October 18th the Vols were reeling. Their record stood at 3-5, without a win in the conference. They could afford only one more loss the rest of the way to become bowl eligible.
Tennessee traveled to Columbia to play South Carolina with sophomore quarterback Joshua Dobbs receiving his first start of the season.
When South Carolina’s Brandon Wilds outran the Tennessee defense for a 70-yard score with 4:52 to go, it gave the Gamecocks a 42-28 lead. It looked like another lost night for the Vols.
But after a short touchdown run by Dobbs with 1:50 left, the Vols defense forced a three-and-out, and then Dobbs led the team on a nine play, 85 yard drive, culminating with a nine yard touchdown pass to Jason Croom with 11 seconds to go.
That forced overtime.
In the extra session, Aaron Medley kicked a 32-yard field goal. The Tennessee defense then sacked Dylan Thompson twice, once by Curt Maggitt and then by Derek Barnett.
A 58-yard game-tying field goal attempt didn’t have a chance and the Vols celebrated with their fans at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Tennessee would win three of its final four games and earn a bowl berth for the first time since 2010.
Honorable mention: Tennessee’s 45-28 TaxSlayer Bowl win over Iowa. Vol fans took over Jacksonville that day, turning EverBank Field into Neyland South.
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