Best Plays of 2010: Poole Party for the Win vs. Tennessee Takes the Lead Against Alabama

Today's contest pits Poole TD against Poole TD, one to win a game against an inferior opponent and one to take the lead against a bitter rival. The first was well-blocked and a pretty easy stroll to the end zone, while the other involved a couple of great cuts by Poole, burners in the open field to outrun a safety, and the heady use of every inch of the field to get to the end zone before an even faster DB could catch him.

Which will advance to the next round? You decide.

Poole Party for the Win -- Tauren Poole's 28-yard TD run on fourth-and-2 to win the game against Vanderbilt

We've said it before, and we'll keep saying it because it's necessary to put the final four games of the regular season into the proper context: After the South Carolina game, the Vols were 2-6 (with the two wins not being all that impressive), and they had to win out to become bowl eligible. Memphis? Blowout. Ole Miss? Also a blowout.

And then came Vanderbilt. With the exception of 2005, Tennessee has always been able to get by Vandy, even in its worst years of the past decade or so, but the Commodores usually make it interesting, and this game was no different.

The Vols led at halftime, 14-3. Daniel Lincoln pushed it up to 17-3 early in the fourth, but then Vandy scored a touchdown to make it 17-10 with about two and a half minutes remaining.

Tennessee recovered the attempted onside kick and then attempted to finish the game by gaining yards, eating clock, and making Vandy spend their timeouts. They were unable to get a first down, however, and ended up at fourth-and-2 at the Vandy 28 yard line with 1:29 remaining. Get two yards and a first down, and the game would be over. Fail, and Vandy would have a shot with about the same amount of time as its last TD drive took.

Here's what happened:

 

I can't tell who that tall, lanky blocker pushing the Vandy guy outside is (Stocker?), but loco hands to him. Negative loco hands to Poole and Denarius Moore in the end zone for a Celebration Fail.

There was still Kentucky, but the Vols finished the regular season on a four-game win streak and made the Music City Bowl.

Tennessee Takes the Lead Against Alabama -- Tauren Poole's TD run against the Crimson Tide

Before there was a four-game win streak, though, there was that nasty business of the four-game losing streak to LSU, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. Tennessee won the game against LSU before it lost it, and it found its quarterback of the future against South Carolina. And against Alabama, the Vols played well if you only count the first half.

After punting on its first possession and forcing the Tide to punt its first chance away as well, Tauren Poole and the Vols did this:

 

"Tennessee takes the lead against Alabama" sure does sound sweet, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, it was all 'Bama in the second half, and they went on to win mumble/mumble to 10.

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