November 24, 2011 by
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer
November 24, 2011
Tennessee 27 Vanderbilt 21
Each year these two teams play a game that, for the most part doesn’t mean much. It’s not like they play for the SEC East or for national championship implications. Still, this game means something around these parts every year. If you are a Vandy fan, you must beat the Vols. Same goes for the other side as swell. So this one had a little flavor to it. Call it mildly spicy if you want. The Commodores have a new head coach that has put new life into this team and into the fan base. In Knoxville the story is not so bright. A season they hoped would be an improvement to last year has not turned out that way. For now, we had this game between two rivals and something had to give.
The game was a big one for both teams. A Vanderbilt win would make them bowl eligible and a UT win put them one game from that same goal.
The UT running game has not been that good all year. They have struggled to complement the passing game. In this game Sr. Tauren Poole ran like he has not all year. He was faster than he was expected to be. He managed 107 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown to open the scoring. Da’Rick Rogers made a great catch and looked like the receiver he was expected to be. He finished with 10 catches for 116 yards and two 17-yard touchdown catches.
For Vandy, it was it was a bit harder. QB Jordan Rodgers struggled, going 17-32 for 193 yards and three picks. Zac Stacy was held to 61 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown.
It was an even game throughout, but the highlights were just about to come. In the third quarter the Vols were up 14-7 and ready to go up 21-7 when they made a mistake. Tyler Bray returned at quarterback and dropped back for the go ahead score. LB Archie Barnes picked him off at the goal line and ran it back to the house to tie the score. WR Chris Boyd caught a 20-yard pass to tie it at 21 and the game went into overtime.
UT did not want to lose to Vandy, especially at home. They needed this win badly and two mid-state stars would decide it. Rodgers dropped back to pass on third down and his pass was intended for Wesley Tate. Eric Gordon beat him to the ball and ran it back 90 yards for the winning touchdown. Before anyone could celebrate a whistle was blown. The play was dead for a minute but after further review the refs said the play was under review. Now the last time I checked, you cannot review a play that has been blown dead by the refs. Well, turns out they said that a whistle was not blown and the play stood as called. Touchdown Tennessee and the win. Later, the Vols would celebrate in a way that was deemed a bit far by Vandy coach James Franklin. Instead of harping about it, he said he will save it for next year.
It was a great game by two teams desperate for a win. All each has to do is win next week and they are bowl eligible. In a conference full of heavyweights, it’s nice to have to lightweights give us a good show.
In a preview to the end of the regular season we have Arkansas vs. LSU tomorrow in one of the biggest games to end a season in recent memory. The Razorbacks are number three in the BCS poll and LSU is number one. An Arkansas win could put them in the top spot and set them up for the BCS title. An LSU wins all but guarantees a trip to the big game. It will not be easy as they will have to get past Georgia in the SEC title game. Alabama, ranked number two, still had to go to Auburn for the Iron Bowl. That game is never a gimme no matter who has the better record. The tie breaker situation is more confusing than an insurance policy. The odds favor LSU to play in the SEC title game and probably for the national title. Georgia might pull off the miracle against LSU but they won’t be playing in the big one.
It will all be decided in the next two weeks of games. There are outside shots like Oklahoma St. or Virginia Tech at four and five. They will need all kinds of chaos to get to the title game. No matter how it ends up an SEC team will probably claim their sixth straight BCS title. Like I always say at the start of the year, they play Sunday football on Saturdays in the SEC.
S. Carolina 41 The Citadel 20
Georgia 19 Kentucky 10
Alabama 45 Ga. Southern 21
Auburn 35 Samford 14
Florida 54 Furman 32
Arkansas 44 Miss St. 17
LSU 52 Ole Miss 3