Tennessee guesses right on final 2-point attempt, topples Georgia Tech

Tennessee and Georgia Tech will meet in brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for Monday's season opener, but who will line up at quarterback for both teams remains unknown - at least publicly.

Marshall scored five touchdowns, rushed for 249 yards and carried the ball 44 times as the Yellow Jackets pummeled Tennessee's defense throughout the game. Tennessee responded by putting together a fantastic drive to tie it only to see its defense collapse before blocking a line-drive field goal attempt to force overtime. Kelly (19 carries for 128 yards and four touchdowns, with five grabs for 35 yards) touched it five times for 35 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown run, and Callaway (four grabs for 115 yards and two scores) caught a 40-yard bomb in double coverage. The Volunteers secured a 42-41 win when they stopped what would have been a game-winning two-point conversion from Georgia Tech.

"It definitely wears on me a lot, but coach talks about finding motivation and keeping the guys going", Bituli said of getting exhausted after being on the field for what seemed like the entire game.

Did I say this made no sense? I know the Vols were trying to get their passing game going, but sometimes you have to ride the hot hand.

UT's Labor Day meeting with the Yellow Jackets will mark the 25th time that the Vols have played on a Monday.

At one stretch, the Jackets rushed the ball 32 consecutive plays and it would have kept going if not for a chop-block penalty that negated a first-down run inside the red zone and forced a failed 47-yard field goal attempt late in the third quarter. Just when Tennessee could not get any more hokey under head coach Butch Jones, entering the Team 121 plastic garbage cans.

"As much as Marquez Callaway sparked us, John Kelly sparked us as well", Jones said. Medley put the Vols ahead for the first time in the game at 42-35. "We'll have to try to get them rested to play".

With that type of firepower on offense, there's no reason to think the Georgia Tech couldn't return to the ACC championship game if it were to clean up its mistakes. I thought KirVonte ran hard.

And the Vols cashed in, moving 93 yards in just seven plays before Kelly ran in from 11 yards out to knot the game at 28-all with 1:29 remaining. The Vols were trailing 21-7 and then 28-14 in the fourth quarter.

Shifting their focus between the tackles, Marshall, Benson and the Jackets offensive line pounded away at Tennessee for a 12-play, 86-yard drive that drained 6:57 off the clock before Marshall dove in from a yard out to give the Jackets a 7-0 lead with six seconds left in the first quarter.

And then, even when the Jackets trailed by a point and aligned itself to go for two, you figured: They'll make it; they'll win it; they deserve it.

A fourth-down stop by Tennessee's defense with 3:14 left in the third started the Vol's 70-yard scoring series. "In the second half, once they got rolling, there wasn't much stopping them". But Davis, who won the kicking job this week, shanked the kick and Tennessee took over at the 30. A Georgia Tech loss and the mumblings about Paul Johnson will turn to audible grumblings.

  • Stacy Allen