At stake: Kicking the new era off right. Vol fans were anxious to see what the innovative new Clawfense could do with live bullets. UCLA was in the midst of a complete coaching overhaul and basically had no quarterback. Winning this one in front of a national audience we had all to ourselves would put the world on notice that Tennessee's offense had finally entered the 21st century.
In-game context: Oops. Live bullets hurt when they shatter all five metatarsals. After UCLA got out to a 7-0 lead thanks to a blocked punt and recovery for a touchdown, Tennessee did get Montario Hardesty into the end zone. Other than that, though, the newly unveiled Clawfense looked positively horrid. On the other hand, the defense looked fantastic and had forced UCLA QB Kevin Craft into three first half interceptions already. And then this:
Impact: You'd think that four interceptions in a single half of football would ruin a guy's confidence. Not so with Kevin Craft, who caught fire in the second half, tied the game, and let our kicker lose it in overtime by missing a field goal. The defense had its own struggles in the second half but would come around soon enough. The Clawfense, though, well the Clawfense turned out to be less like a shiny new bike for Christmas and more like another pair of pants. Plaid corduroys. With smiley faces on them.