Fans of the Tennessee Volunteers were in desperate need of a win after a terrible loss to Georgia State a week ago.
Well, they wouldn’t get said win as the Vols blew a 4th quarter lead en route to a 29-26 double overtime loss.
The Vols were able to get the Cougars into a 2nd-and-15 early on the first drive, but a defensive pass interference call on Warren Burrell gave the Cougars a first down. Darrell Taylor came through with a sack a couple of plays later, but BYU was able to convert the following third down with a 16-yard screen to Lopini Kotoa. The Vols’ defense setteled down soon afterward, forcing the Cougars to punt three plays later.
Tennessee began their first offensive drive with two straight running plays that netted a first down thanks to a 13-yard run by freshman Eric Gray on 2nd-and-6. Jarrett Guarantano found Jauan Jennings over the middle for an 18-yard pass a few plays later and the Vols were on the move.
But an offensive holding call on Brandon Kennedy and a late throw from Guarantano on the subsequent play set the Vols up with a 3rd-and-19 from the BYU 21. After a very long review, it was determined Josh Palmer came up with a clutch 16-yard reception that set the Vols with up with a 4th-and-3 from the BYU five-yard line.
Tennessee decided to go for it on 4th-and-3. There’s really no way to explain this, but Guarantano’s intended pass for Jennings bounced off the hands of a BYU defender and landed right into Jennings’ hands for the first touchdown of the game and the Vols led, 7-0.
The Cougars were able to respond quickly thanks to a 13-yard reception from Gunner Romney and a 27-yard reception from Matt Bushman. All of a sudden, BYU was at the Vols’ 18-yard line with a fresh set of downs.
Tennessee forced a negative play from Wilson and a delay of game penalty on 3rd-and-10 left the Cougars with a 3rd-and-15 from the Vols’ 24. A quick throw to Simon couldn’t achieve a first down, but gave BYU a simple 31-yard field goal attempt. The kick was successful and the Vols now led 7-3 with :19 seconds left in the first quarter.
Guarantano was able to find Jennings for a 51-yard catch-and-run to finish the first quarter, but he was hit with an intentional grounding penalty on the next play, which left the Vols with a 2nd-and-16 from the BYU 36. The Vols couldn’t overcome the penalty and were left with a 4th-and-1 at the BTU 19. Tennessee tried to convert another fourth down with an inside handoff to Gray, but couldn’t convert and the Cougars took over on downs at their own 19.
The Vols defense came through after a LaTrell Bumphus sack set up a BYU fumble on the next play. Guarantano and co. would take over at the UT 38 with 11:26 left in the first half.
It looked as if the Vols would go three-and-out, but a defensive holding call on Zayne Anderson gave Tennessee a first down at the BYU 50.
The offense was able to recover from its own holding call a couple of plays later, but Tennessee couldn’t get into the end zone. Instead, Pruitt and co. had to settle for a 51-yard field goal that extended the lead to 10-3.
It was the Ty’Son Williams show on the Cougars’ next drive. He was involved in four of the next six plays, gaining 15 yards and resulting in a 2nd-and-6 from BYU’s 48. Henry To’o To’o would end up taking Williams down for a loss on 3rd-and-3, forcing the Cougars into a punt.
Marquez Callaway was able to give the Vols the ball at their own 14-yard line with 1:48 left in the first quarter. Would the Vols be able to extend their lead by two scores?
Ty Chandler took off for a 53-yard run on 2nd-and-10 that took the Vols all the way down to the Cougars’ 31-yard line, but it wasn’t enough as the Vols couldn’t take advantage of the short field.
Tennessee was left with another 4th-and-short. This time, it was a 4th-and-1 at the BYU 22 with :26 seconds left in the half. Would they decide to go for it again, or go for the field goal?
The answer was a field goal attempt and Cimaglia came through with the 39-yarder. The Vols now led, 13-3 with :21 seconds left in the first half.
The Cougars couldn’t get anything done before halftime, but the Vols couldn’t get anything done soon after the second half began. Guarantano threw his first interception of the game on a 3rd-and-4, leaving BYU with a 1st-and-10 at the Tennessee 20 after a 22-yard return by linebacker Kavia Fonua.
Good defense by Tennessee led to another Bumphus sack, but Williams sprinted into the end zone on 3rd-and-6 for a 16-yard touchdown that made it a 13-10 game with 12:47 to go in the third quarter.
Tennessee couldn’t answer and went three-and-out on the next possession. The Cougars couldn’t either, as a questionable play call on 3rd-and-1 left the team with no option but to punt the ball.
The Vols’ drive began at their own 17 with 8:59 left in the third quarter. They couldn’t get much done, however, and had to punt the ball from their own 32. The Cougars fell flat on their face as well, surrendering a three-and-out on the next possession.
Gray helped move the ball on the next drive, but a holding penalty left the Vols in a bad spot. Josh Palmer helped his team, however, recording a 15-yard catch-and-run to give the Vols a 2nd-and-5 at the BYU 35.
Chandler carried the load into the 4th quarter, but the Vols received a major break when a Devin Kaufusi was called for roughing the passer after a late hit on Guarantano. He was also flagged for targeting, which led to his ejection from the game. BYU was also called for DPI on the same play, so the Vols accepted the DPI flag on Isaiah Herron, leaving them with a 1st-and-Goal from the BYU 9.
Guarantano couldn’t get his team into the end zone and the Vols had to settle for a field goal. Cimaglia hit his third field goal of the game to give the Vols a 16-10 lead with 11:41 to go in the game.
BYU rode Micah Simon and Williams all the way down to the Vols’ 25, but couldn’t get any further. Fortunately for them, Jake Oldroyd hit a 42-yard field goal to bring his team within three points.
The Vols led, 16-13 with 7:18 left in the game. Could Guarantano lead his team on a scoring drive to help pad the lead?
Chandler did his part with a 25-yard run on 2nd-and-1, but Tennessee couldn’t convert a 4th-and-1 a few plays later on an end-around to Palmer.
BYU took over at their own 30 with 4:15 to go in the game, however, the Vols held their own and forced a punt with 3:39 left.
Tennessee needed only a couple of first downs to get its first win on the season. Would Pruitt and co. be able to pull it off?
Well, the offense couldn’t seal the win, so it would end up being the defense’s responsibility to win the game. Tennessee took a timeout right around 1:09 before the final punt of the game, which would leave the Cougars with about left 1:01, 60 yards, and zero timeouts to kick the game-tying field goal or score the game-winning touchdown.
A holding call on Tristen Hoge automatically set BYU back to a 1st-and-18 and things looked grim until Wilson found Simon across the middle for a 64-yard gain that left the visiting team with a last-second field goal attempt to send the game into overtime.
Oldroyd would barely make it inside the right upright to send the game into overtime after a 16-16 regulation score.
It took just three plays for the Cougars to score in the first period of overtime. A great thrown from Wilson to Talon Shumway put the Vols behind, 23-16, and in a must-score-a-touchdown possession.
The Vols were in a dire situation, facing 3rd-and-12, but Guarantano found Palmer on the right sideline for a first down inside the Cougars’ 10. Jennings would then make a clutch catch over the middle in the end zone and Cimaglia nailed the extra point to send the game into the second overtime with a 23-23 score.
A lackluster attempt from the Tennessee offense led to a 40-yard attempt from Cimaglia, which he nailed to give the Vols a 26-23 lead. A defensive stop would win the game, but the Cougars would win with a touchdown.
And that would end up happening as Williams - with some help from his teammates - drove into the end zone for the game-winning score. The Cougars would go on to win, 29-26.