Today's contest in the Best Plays of 2009 Brackety-ish Thing features Chris Walker's pick six against Ohio and Janzen Jackson's stonewallin' of Brandon James in a Gainesville end zone. This one closes for voting at 9:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, 6/17/10.
From Unblockable to Unfoolable
At stake: A distinct feeling that the 2009 Tennessee team might actually be no better than the 2008 version. Like the 2008 team, the 2009 Vols started the season with losses to UCLA and Florida and a win against a nobody. The prior season, UT followed up that 1-2 start with a pitiful loss to Auburn, and in the fourth game of 2009, they had to beat Ohio to make any sort of claim that they'd improved under the new coaching staff.
In-game context: Tennessee scored a touchdown on its first possession against the Bobcats, but then went down 7-14 when Ohio got two TDs on consecutive drives. Jonathan Crompton had already thrown an interception, but had rebounded a bit with a TD toss to Brandon Warren, evening the score at 14. It looked like the Vols were in for a dog fight. Against Ohio.
Fortunately, when the Vols had Ohio backed up midway through the second quarter, Monte Kiffin talked and Chris Walker listened:
Impact: From there, the teams traded field goals, and Tennessee went into the locker room up 24-17. The second half featured three more field goals -- two by Ohio and one by UT -- and a Crompton to Bryce Brown TD, and the Vols won 34-23 and avoided a start that would have looked and felt just a bit too much like 2008.
Stonewall Jackson Exacts Revenge on Brandon James
At stake: Humiliation. The planets were aligned for a historic beat down of Tennessee by rival Florida in Gainesville at the hands of the humor-challenged and merciless Urban Meyer. The only real question anyone had was whether The Swamp had three digit scoreboards.
In-game context: Well, so much for the public spanking. Florida didn't score on every drive on both sides of the ball. In fact, their first drive ended with only a field goal, the second with a touchdown, and the third with Eric Berry intercepting the mighty Tebow.
On their next drive, the Gators drove 52 yards and were threatening the end zone when Janzen Jackson did to Brandon James what every Vol fan on earth had been wanting to do to him for four years.
Impact: Well, somebody finally caught Brandon James and knocked the snot out of him, so that counts for something. And Florida managed only two touchdowns and a ten-point victory on a day they were certainly hoping for a massive bloodletting. But they won, and all you can really hope for when somebody beats you up is to get in a few really good punches. This was one of ours.