Tennessee tradition

Posted Jun 26, 2007

If you're a University of Tennessee football fan, you already know that Bob Neyland was one of college football's most influential coaches and that the Volunteers boast one of the game's richest traditions.

Now it seems the rest of the world is beginning to acknowledge these facts. Ivan Meisel of espn.com is running a series this week called “The 100: The plays, performances and moments that define college football.” Picks 81 through 100 ran Monday. Picks 61 through 80 are posted today.

The Big Orange has shown up three times already. Memorable moment No. 94 was the 1941 Sugar Bowl, which saw Boston College beat the Vols by utilizing one of Neyland's favorite trick plays.

The Vols show up twice more in picks 61 through 80. Memorable moment No. 75 was Tennessee's dramatic come-from-behind defeat of Arkansas in 1998 and moment No. 70 was Neyland's stunning upset of mighty Alabama in 1928.

What follows is Meisel's recap of each episode:



Knoxville, Tenn. | Nov. 14, 1998

Tennessee's reign at No. 1 looked as if it wouldn't last one game. No. 10, unbeaten Arkansas led, 24-22, and had the ball with less than 2:00 to go. But then guard Brandon Burlsworth stepped on quarterback Clint Stoerner's foot, causing Stoerner to stumble and - ouch - fumble. Vols linebacker Chris Ramseur recovered at the Arkansas 43, and Tennessee scored the winning touchdown with :28 left. After that, how could Tennessee not finish No. 1?



Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Oct. 20, 1928

Before their 1928 game, young Tennessee coach Robert Neyland coyly suggested to Alabama coach Wallace Wade that the Vols were no match for the Tide and perhaps the second half could be shortened? Then Tennessee sophomore Gene McEver returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. The Vols stunned the Tide, 15-13, establishing Neyland and Tennessee as a Southern power.

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