8. 1995: Jeff Hall, 34-yard field goal
Tennessee beats Georgia 30-27
Tennessee football was set to open the floodgates in 1995 and begin its peak run of the late 1980s through the early 2000s. And it all started with an SEC opening win that came down to the leg of a freshman kicker who would become a future legend.
Jeff Hall, who would be part of the winningest true freshman class in school history, joined a program seriously on the rise. With Phillip Fulmer in his third year and his highly touted 1994 recruiting class, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, ready to take over the program, the Vols needed something to show they were ready to take off. This was that game.
The Georgia Bulldogs came to Neyland Stadium for a program-defining ESPN Saturday night match-up, and the two schools went head to head all night. Late, Manning and Jay Graham led a great drive deep into UGA territory.
With seconds left, that’s when Fulmer called on Hall. Again, a true freshman, nobody knew what to expect. But it turns out, they saw a hint of things to come.
As you’ll see later on this list, Hall is the most clutch kicker in school history. This night started it all. He nailed a 34-yard field goal that, as the late John Ward pointed out, the crowd noise showed was good. With it, Tennessee won. That set off an 11-1 season that took the program to the next level. And Hall’s kick started it all.