3. Tennessee football loses to the Florida Gators on a Hail Mary in 2017.
Tennessee football was in a very different state two years after the 2015 loss to the Florida Gators. That was still a program on the rise with 2016 supposed to be their breakout year. But after a disappointing 2016 and a new quarterback in 2017, Butch Jones was coaching for his job under a new athletic director.
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A lucky win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets was the highlight of the start to the season, and the Vols were 2-0 heading into Gainesville. Florida, with Jim McElwain also on the hot seat, had numerous starters injured.
Everything favored UT winning this game. But, sticking with our Fulmer curse theme, the Tennessee Vols had hired John Currie over Fulmer as athletic director earlier in the year. So the cures of the program only grew at that point.
In this game, Tennessee made every coaching mistake possible. They threw it three times on the one-yard line and picked up a false start penalty because of a quarterback change in one drive, which ended in an interception. Another time in the red zone, they called a pass on 3rd and 1 despite John Kelly dominating. That play resulted in a sack, which turned into a missed field goal.
Still, the Vols overcame that to be in position to tie inside the 10-yard line down by a field goal late in the game. But inexplicably, Jones and new offensive coordinator Larry Scott called three passing plays. All were incomplete, which gave Florida the ball with time after Tennessee tied it up with a field goal.
Well, they did just that. Jones and Bob Shoop inexplicably didn’t have a dime package, and Feleipe Franks converted on a Hail Mary to win the game 26-20. This was the game that single-handedly put Jones on the hot seat. Stupid play-calling cost the Tennessee Vols, and it led to the horrific luck at the end.