2008 retrospective: Tennessee 20, Vanderbilt 10

A final look back at the 2008 season, quick-like, because pain should be fast.

Up today: Vanderbilt.

Really, no one was very interested in the Vanderbilt game. Now that the decision had been made to replace the head coach, most fans were more interested in who Mike Hamilton would hire to replace Phillip Fulmer. Jackson the Mule authored another memo, this one to Mike Hamilton, advising him that if he was going to change coaches, he'd better do more than simply swap out the spark plugs. I agreed, and made the case for Mike Leach, and Leach barely beat out Jon Gruden in an RTT fan poll.

Fortunately, coach Fulmer and Wyoming had gotten the players' collective attention by now and had them ready to play:


FULL SCREEN VERSION

Jonathan Crompton threw an interception on the second play of the game, but after that, it was almost like old times, at least for a half:

The defense was having their way with Same Old Vandy, holding them to three yards rushing and 25 yards total. Eric Berry also did what Eric Berry does, intercepting a pass and returning it 45 yards for a touchdown. With that pick six, he's within sneezing distance of the all-time NCAA record for interception return yards. If he gets the 15 or so yards he needs for the record next week against Big Blue Kentucky, he'll have obtained the record in a mere half a college career.

And the offense seemed to have discovered itself under the leadership of our fourth quarterback of the season, B.J. Coleman, who did what most new quarterbacks do best: hand off to good running backs, who in this case were Lennon Creer and Montario Hardesty. Creer finished the game with 80 yards, and Hardesty finished with 41. Arian Foster had 53 late in the game running out the clock.

Tennessee fans were also treated to Fulmer making good on his promise to Eric Berry to put him in at QB for a few plays. He ran for seven yards the first time he took a snap, which qualifies as a big play for Tennessee this season.

At the end of the half, Tennessee was up 20-0 and 122 yards to 25. No matter how decrepit Tennesse becomes, Vandy remains the Same Old Vandy.

The second half was another story, with the offensive rediscovering and reinventing futility, but in the end, the team pulled it out and suddenly found itself with a mere one game remaining in the Phillip Fulmer Era.

Up next: Kentucky.

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