All right, folks. First up in the Best Plays of 2007 Brackety-ish Thingy is No. 1 seed Eric Berry's INT-bow (a.k.a Hellooooo, Eric Berry!, a.k.a. Kryptonite) versus No. 4 seed Dennis Rogan's 53-yard punt return against Vanderbilt.
Eric Berry's INT-bow
At stake: Hey, it's Florida. They're always the chief obstacle standing between Tennessee and a chance at an SEC Championship. Two weeks earlier, the Vols had been beaten pretty severely at Cal, and losing two of the first three games of the season would not be good.
In-game context: Florida stormed out of the gate with a punt return for a touchdown and then proceeded to Tebow Tebow Tebow its way to a 28-13 halftime lead that would have been 28-6 if not for an Erik Ainge pass to Chris Brown for a touchdown with 25 seconds left in the half. So much for momentum, though, as Florida picked up right where it left off after the break, driving on the Vols at will and earning Tim Tebow comparisons to Superman. And then, Gary Danielson laus interruptus.
Impact: Eh. On our next possession, a botched handoff between Ainge and Arian Foster resulted in a fumble that a Florida defender picked up and returned for a touchdown, and in the end we were completely dishumiliarrassed. Still, Berry Woo!
Dennis Rogan's 53-yard punt return against Vanderbilt
This one needs a nickname, folks.
At stake: The Vols had mostly recovered from their 1-2 start to the season, and despite another bad loss to Alabama, they'd beaten both Georgia and Arkansas handily and found themselves in the driver's seat for the SEC East. Only Vanderbilt and Kentucky stood in their way.
In-game context: After only four series, Tennessee led Vanderbilt in yards 122-17, but due to some horrible kicking from Daniel Lincoln (he missed an extra point and a field goal), we led only 6-0. Vanderbilt then drove 78 yards in 9:02 and took the lead 7-6. Lincoln did manage to hit one field goal before the half, but Vandy was clicking and went into the locker room at halftime up 17-9. Immediately after the break, the Commodores went up 24-9, and the stage was set. Thanks in part to a roughing the kicker penalty, Tennessee finally found some momentum, ripping off a touchdown drive and an extra point and another TD. The two-point attempt after the second touchdown failed, though, and the score was Vandy 24, Tennessee 22. The defense pulled off a three-and-out, and the 'Dores had to punt with about six minutes remaining. Enter Dennis Rogan:
Apologies for the audio-synch problem with this one. Will have to fix later.
Impact: Rogan's fantastic return set the Vols up to win the game. Ainge and the offense drove 17 yards, and Lincoln hit a 33-yard field goal to put the Vols up by one. The defense held, and the Vols survived. They'd head to Kentucky the next week to play for the right to represent the East in the SEC Championship.
Which of these two will advance? That's up to you. Vote below.