The final game of Week 1 gave us a fantastic ending to college football’s Week 1 marathon.
Despite giving up over 500 yards rushing to Georgia Tech, Tennessee capitalized on two late Yellow Jacket turnovers and stopped Tech on a two-point conversion in the second overtime to win 42-41.
Tennessee tied the game at 35-35 in the first overtime and got the ball to start the second overtime. Running back John Kelly scored his fourth touchdown of the day and Georgia Tech got the ball back down seven.
Georgia Tech QB TaQuon Marshall, making his first start ever, quickly scored on the Jackets’ possession. And instead of playing for the tie, Tech coach Paul Johnson went for two and the win.
It didn’t work. Marshall got stopped — one of the few times Tennessee stopped him all night — and his last-ditch pass as he got tackled fell incomplete.
As Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense had 86 carries for 535 yards, Marshall was responsible for approximately half of that output. The QB had 44 rushes for 249 yards and five touchdowns, showing patience, burst and good vision. He’s going to terrorize ACC defenses in 2017.
Tech had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but a 36-yard field goal attempt by kicker Shawn Davis with three seconds left barely got above his line and was easily blocked. The kick was Davis’ second miss of the game; his first attempt was a shank.
Tennessee tied it on Kelly’s second touchdown of the day, an 11-yard run with 1:29 left. It came after Tech looked to be putting the game away when running back J.J. Green broke free towards the Tennessee end zone and a potential two-score lead.
But Green was stripped of the ball as he got inside the 20 and Tennessee recovered at its own seven.
Here’s where the trash can comes in. While Tennessee was on defense, a staff member held up a trash can. The idea, apparently, is that the ball from any turnover created by the defense gets put into the trash can. Wouldn’t you want to keep it?
Anyhow, the motivational tactic appears to work. Here’s what happened after Green’s fumble.
This is going to be one of the more bizarre and entertaining 2017 college football rituals.
If the dramatic win is a precursor of things to come for Tennessee, there are going to be some Volunteer fans who don’t make it through the season without seeing a cardiac specialist.
This Week 1 thriller — a night after Texas A&M gave up 34-straight points in the final 19 minutes vs. UCLA — comes on the heels of Tennessee’s 2016 season that saw a game won on a Hail Mary (Georgia), a double-overtime loss to A&M that featured seven UT turnovers and a 14-point fourth quarter collapse against Vanderbilt.
– – – – – – –