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100 Days of Vols #82 - The Antonio Reynolds Juke

Just one example of a player delighting us by doing something completely unexpected.

Grant Halverson

Yes, Big Boy touchdowns are among life's greatest pleasures, and Antonio Reynolds had one of his own about six years ago. It's one of those plays that barely even mattered in the grand scheme of things and yet matters more than most because of the smile it conjures up from the memory banks.

The year was 2007 and the game was against Louisiana-Lafayette. There were no national title hopes on the line, and the game didn't impact the SEC race a fraction of an iota, which is like really, really small. At the time, the Vols were already up 17-0 in the second quarter on the way to a 59-7 rout. So yeah, there was nothing at stake, nothing riding on the shoulders of this play.

But oh, was it glorious. The UL-Laf QB took the shotgun snap and faked a roll to the right before spinning and firing to what he must have hoped would be an open receiver. But the corner was right there, and the ball was high, so the receiver was reaching into the air with a defender draped around his back. The ball was tipped up into the air, which is how these Big Boy TDs usually begin.

When the ball was snapped, Antonio Reynolds got past his offensive lineman, but he immediately figured out what was going on and held his position rather than racing toward the QB for a sack that would never happen, and he was rewarded with being in the right place at the right time, snatching the ball out of the air even as he had already started running toward the other side of the field. He had 70 yards to go.

As it was for the Shaun Ellis play we talked about last Monday, a convoy of Tennessee players immediately surrounded Reynolds. This one was a biit different, though, because there was in fact one opponent who was ahead of the convoy and had the angle on Reynolds. The guy looked like he was twice as fast, and Reynolds had his size and the sideline to contend with, so it appeared to be inevitable that the guy would simply touch him and push him out of bounds.

The point of contact should have been about the opposite 37-yard line, the guy screaming in like a fighter jet. But Reynolds, all 6'3" and 270 pounds of him, juked him. I just typed the phrase, "He stopped on a dime" and erased it three times because you can't really call it that. Maybe more like a 50 cent piece or a frisbee. Or maybe a hula hoop.

But whatever, Reynolds juked the defender, and the guy went flying out of bounds in front of Reynolds, clearing his way to the checkerboards. Defensive lineman in the checkerboards 70 yards later. Glorious.