Shortly after the heartbreaking basketball loss to Purdue in the Sweet Sixteen just over a month ago, we decided that it would be a constructive exercise to go back and relive some of the most heartbreaking losses of the past 10 years.
The reviews were mixed, to say the least. Some people couldn’t handle it. Either the wound was too fresh, or they didn’t understand the value of embracing the past. Others treated it as an opportunity to grow as fans. Still others didn’t care, and that’s fine too…I guess.
Whichever you happened to be, it only makes sense for our next move to be reliving the high points of the last ten years.
Let’s do it!
Georgia, Football, 2009
Lane Kiffin’s only season at Tennessee was weird to say the least. Between calling out Urban Meyer, telling Alshon Jeffrey he would pump gas for the rest of his life if he chose South Carolina, and his…um…exit, it was a weird season for everyone.
In the first five games of his tenure, Kiffin could only manage two wins over lowly Western Kentucky and Ohio. The others were close losses to UCLA, Florida, and Auburn.
So when a formerly ranked Georgia came to Knoxville, it was an opportunity for Kififin to back up all of his talk. It was also sure to be a fairly even match up that could be determined by just a few points in the end. Especially with future All-Pro AJ Green was roaming the Georgia sidelines.
Just kidding, Tennessee beat the absolute hell out of them.
Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton threw for 205 yards and three touchdowns in the first half and finished the day with 20 completions on 27 attempts. Georgia’s offense never even reached the red zone.
There was no one moment that made this game special, either. It’s just always nice sending the Dawgs back to Athens with their short little tails tucked.
Final: Tennessee 45, Georgia 19
Ohio State, Basketball, 2010
Man, this 2010 Tennessee basketball team was fun. Scotty Hopson, JP Prince, Bobby Maze, and Bruce Pearl were all fun on their own. But when they were all synced up and playing/coaching their best basketball…watch out.
In the 2010 NCAA Tournament, Tennessee rolled to the Sweet Sixteen with wins over San Diego State and Ohio in the first two rounds. There, they would face off with Evan Turner and two-seeded Ohio State. And in case you forgot, Turner was good that season. Really good. Like National College Player of the Year, good.
Down by three at halftime, Tennessee would come back and win the game off of a tip-in from Brian Williams and a pair of Bobby Maze free throws in the final minute. Turner did everything in his power to steal a last second shot away from the Vols, but Prince was there to tip his final attempted buzzer-beater to tie the game. Tennessee players stormed the court, and Pearl and company were on their way to the first Elite Eight in program history.
Final: Tennessee 76, Ohio State 73
NC State, Football, 2012
The third (and what would eventually be final) season of Derek Dooley’s career at Tennessee was all set to be the best one yet. Justin Hunter, Mychal Rivera, Rajion Neal, and Tyler Bray were all returning to what looked to be shaping up as one of the best offenses in the country that year. But this game was all about the new guy from some community college in Kansas.
This game was all about Cordarrelle Patterson.
Patterson did it all in his first game in orange. He caught a 41-yard touchdown and took a reverse 67 yards to the house all in the first quarter. Bray didn’t have a bad game either, posting 333 passing yards and two touchdowns. NC State and star cornerback David Amerson couldn’t find an answer, and Tennessee cruised to an easy win in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.
We don’t talk about how the rest of the season went.
Final: Tennessee 35, NC State 21
South Carolina, Football, 2013
Considering Tennessee was coming off of three consecutive losing seasons, losing the majority of its offensive producers from the season before, and breaking in a new head coach in the 2013 season, expectations were fairly low. To make matters worse, seven of its 12 games were against top-25 teams. Naturally, they would lose almost all of those games against ranked opponents.
Almost all of them. The exception was when No. 11 South Carolina came to town.
Going into halftime, Tennessee was up 17-7. The second half went a little differently from the first, however, with South Carolina’s Connor Shaw and Mike Davis leading the Gamecocks to a big third quarter to take a 21-17 lead going in to the fourth.
Following a late field goal from Michael Palardy, the ball exchanged hands a few more times, with Tennessee ending up with the ball and less than two minutes left on the clock. A *sterling* one-handed reception by Marquez North would set up a chip-shot field goal in the final seconds to take the lead and the game.