10. 2013: Michael Palardy, 19-yard field goal
Tennessee beats South Carolina 23-21
In the scope of things, this one doesn’t seem like much. It was a 19-year field goal in a season in which the Vols went 5-7 for a coach who is now fired. However, it was still significant for Tennessee football given what they had come out of.
The Vols had suffered three straight losing seasons at this point, hadn’t beaten a ranked team since 2009 and hadn’t beaten a Top 10 team since 2006. So a lot was riding on this game in Butch Jones’s first year as head coach.
Everybody mostly remembers the plays that led up to this: a great defensive effort, Steve Spurrier’s misuse of timeouts and the amazing one-handed grab by Marquez North from Justin Worley’s pass. All of those things were definitely key pieces to the game.
But as Tennessee got down inside the five-yard line, everybody just knew something would go wrong. Palardy had been erratic throughout his career, being benched by Derek Dooley the year before at times. UT fans were also used to losing games in which they had tons of hope they could pull out as upsets. And we already gave you the streak.
As a result, when Jones called on Palardy to kick a field goal as time expired, nobody knew what to expect. Well, he came through. The kick itself wasn’t impressive, but it secured a win over a Top 10 team for the Vols. That was huge monkey off the program’s back, so it makes this list.