It’s been a while but I’m finally back. Football is almost here so let’s finish up our countdown before we get into the 2012 season.
It’s time to continue the countdown of the best 20 road wins for the Vols the last 20 seasons. This week we’ll take a look at #10-6 as we continue our march toward #1.
10. LSU – 2005
In a game delayed two days by Hurricane Rita, the Vols would have to travel to Baton Rouge on Monday morning and take on the Bayou Bengaled Tigers that night. It was the first ever Monday night game in Tiger Stadium history. The Vols had the whole state of Louisiana against them. Vols QB Erik Ainge came out and played just terribly. The Vols went into the locker room at halftime trailing 21-0. That’s when Coach Fulmer went to LSU transfer Rick Clausen. Clausen would lead the Vols back and tie the game at 21 and send the game into overtime. The Vols would hold LSU to a field goal. Then, Gerald Riggs, Jr. would score on UT’s overtime possession to give the Vols one of their most memorable road wins.
9. Alabama – 2001
The Vols traveled to Tuscaloosa for their annual battle with the Crimson Tide on October 20th. Casey Clausen started the game off the right way, hooking up with Dante Stallworth for a 21-yard Touchdown pass. Tennessee would fall behind in the 3rd Quarter 24-21, but Clausen and Travis Stephens led the Vols to two 4th Quarter Touchdowns and gave the Vols a 35-24 win and their 7 straight win over Alabama, which is the longest win streak any opponent has ever had against Alabama.
8. Kentucky – 2007
Probably the most epic game between these two schools occured on Thanksgiving Weekend in 2007. Tennessee traveled to Lexington with a trip to the SEC Championship Game on the line. All the Vols had to do was win and their in. That seemed like a lock at halftime as the Vols led 24-7 over the Wildcats. Kentucky came out in the 2nd Half and outscored the Vols 24-7 to tie the game after the Vols led in the 4th Quarter 31-14. They sent the game to overtime. Not just one overtime, but four overtimes. The teams traded TDs in the first OT, but the Cats picked off Vols QB Erik Ainge on the Vols possession in the 2nd OT. UK had a shot at victory, but Lones Seiber’s 35-yard Field Goal was blocked by Dan Williams. Both teams scored touchdowns in the 4th OT and UT made it’s 2-point conversion. UT was able to sack UK QB Andre Woodson and preserve a memorable 52-50 victory. Erik Ainge set a UT record for touchdown passes in a game with 7 and threw for 397 yards.
7. Alabama – 1997
The Vols would travel to historic Legion Field to face the Alabama Crimson Tide for the final time in the famed facility. With the rivalry moving to Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa from here on out, both teams wanted to win the final game between these two old rivals before a venue change. The Vols would do just that. The Tide jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, but then the Vols went to work. A pair of Shaun Bryson touchdown runs and a Peyton Manning touchdown pass gave the Vols a 21-6 halftime lead. Manning would hook up with Peerless Price in the 2nd half for a 52 yard touchdown pass and the Vols would beat the Crimson Tide 38-21 and send the mostly 83,091 fans in attendance home disappointed, except for the Big Orange Nation!
6. Syracuse – 1998
The Vols would kick off their 1998 National Championship campaign on the road against the Syracuse Orangemen. Tee Martin was starting his first game as UT’s Quarterback, stepping into the role that was left vacant by Peyton Manning. Martin struggled on this day against the ‘Cuse, going 9/26 for 143 yards. The Vols defense would have to deal with future NFL star Donovan McNabb. McNabb threw for 300 yards against UT on 22/28 passing. The Vols trailed Syracuse late in the 4th Quarter 33-31 when Martin stepped up and led UT on a late drive to put the Vols in Field Goal range. That’s when Jeff Hall would step up and kick a 27-yard game winning Field Goal to give UT a road victory that would ultimately propel them to the National Championship.