Big Orange Flux Capacitor: Tennessee/Vandy 1951; part 2

When last we visited the 1951 Tennessee/Vanderbilt game, the Vols were clinging to a 21-14 lead with the 'Dores having scored the last two touchdowns and mounting a furious rally.

The game would get even tighter with Vandy scoring what would have been the tying TD had they not (in typical Vandy fashion) missed the point after. The Vols went on to score two more times but the game stayed tight, ending with VU in Tennessee territory and a chance to tie with a TD and two-point conversion.

Think about it ... Vandy was two plays from denying Tennessee a national championship. How football lore could have changed that day ...

Oh, and there's a ginormous fight after the game. Well, not like Miami/FIU from last fall, but still.

A look at the box score (especially the third quarter):

1 2 3 4 Final
Vanderbilt ........... 0 0 20 7 27
Tennessee ........... 7 7 7 14 35

... kinda makes you think "wha ha-happened?" Well, obviously I wasn't there, so let's rely on an AP article ($) from Dec. 2, 1951:

Vols Get Scare But Prevail Over Vanderbilt, 35-27
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 1. - AP - A fighting Vanderbilt football team, fired to great heights by the sensational passing of quarterback Bill Wade, gave mighty Tennessee a real scare today before bowing, 35 to 27. A wildly screaming crowd of 45,000 homecoming fans shouted itself hoarse as Wade riddled unbeaten Tennessee's secondary with passes and almost pulled off the biggest upset of the season. The hard won victory was the tenth straight of the season for the Sugar Bowl bound Volunteers and marked their first unbeaten, and untied season since 1940. It also was their twentieth consecutive win over a two year period.

Completes 16 Of 24
Wade completed 16 of 24 bulletlike passes for 251 yards and no interceptions. He failed to score directly through the air, but his tosses set the stage for each of the Commodores' four touchdowns. Tennessee completely dominated the first half and left the field for the intermission with a 14 to 0 lead. The Vols struck quickly for a third touchdown in the first minute of the third quarter. Guard Ted Daffer crashed through and blocked halfback Dick Foster's punt on Vandy's eight and big Doug Atkins scooped up the ball and raced six yards for a touchdown. Bert Rechichar added his third straight conversion.

Complexion Changes
But the complexion of the game changed quickly as Tennessee kicked off to Vandy. Wade, who had failed to maneuver the Commodores past midfield in the first half, started hitting with his passes. Vanderbilt knocked off three quick touchdowns on drives of 71, 25, and 88 yards, but missed the third conversion and the partisan, crowd, sensing an upset in the making, breathed easier.

Same Old Vandy, indeed.

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