Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Volunteers Start 2017 Football Season With OT Victory

In a thriller from Atlanta, the Tennessee Volunteers toppled the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a 42-41 overtime victory. It was a double-overtime thriller that would test where the Volunteers’ mindset was going into the season.

Georgia Tech’s Game

The story for much of the game was the dominance of Georgia Tech. The Yellow jackets put up a staggering 655 yards of offense, 535 yards coming from rushing the ball. The 655 yards of offense is the highest yardage allowed by any Tennessee defense ever.

It looked as if Georgia Tech was heading toward a victory, until a costly fumble from Georgia Tech would turn the tide in favor of Tennessee.

Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall would have a personal best in the season opener. He put up 249 rushing yards on 44 carries and scored five touchdowns in the game; his five touchdowns are the most ever from a Georgia Tech player and the most rushing yards ever by a Yellow Jackets quarterback.

The loss against Tennessee when the Yellow Jackets were steamrolling is one that head coach Paul Johnson is still in shock about.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a game where you run 96 plays and have 655 yards of offense and lose,” Johnson said to reporters about the loss.

Ultimately, the tide began to turn after the fumble from Georgia Tech. A game that looked to be as good as over would be tested in the game’s final minutes.

The Finale

At the end of regulation, the Volunteers would block a Georgia Tech 36-yard field goal try to send the game into overtime. Tennessee then took advantage of the block by coming back for two scores in the closing 12 minutes of the game.

Tennessee quarterback Quinten Dormady would toss the ball in the air into the hands of sophomore wide receiver Marquez Callaway for a 50-yard touchdown to come back from utter defeat. Following that was a John Kelly touchdown to once again tie the game at 28-28 with 1:29 left. In the second overtime, Kelly once again ran for a two-yard touchdown, putting the Vols up 42-35.

The closing moment of the game for Tennessee was simply a guessing game.

After Georgia Tech scored to make it 42-41, Tech coach Paul Johnson called time out to set up a two point play to win the game.  Georgia Tech’s quarterback Marshall would try to be the hero that they needed, but would he was stopped running the ball; he threw a desperation pass that was no good as Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor was able to stop Marshall from running into the end zone to secure the 42-41 win for the Volunteers.

Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones would credit the team’s resiliency as the key to the huge victory on Monday. The thrilling victory was much needed for a beleaguered coach and program under Butch Jones.

What’s Next?

Following the thrilling victory for Tennessee is a game at home against the Indiana State Sycamores. Then, the Vols will open SEC play with a game at Florida the following week.

Georgia Tech will next do battle against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. Kickoff for that game is at 12:30 p.m. on the ACC Network.

About Stephen Cabrera

Stephen Cabrera is a current University of Florida Journalism student and fan of football, basketball, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling.

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