11. Tennessee football loses a second game in 2010 after seemingly winning.
It’s almost as if Tennessee football wanted to deliver a heartbreak encore Derek Dooley’s first year. After the LSU loss, they went into a tailspin and fell to 2-6. But the program took advantage of an easy slate in November, and after throwing in a bunch of freshmen and making a quarterback switch from Matt Simms, to Tyler Bray, they finished 6-6.
All of a sudden, momentum was back, and Tennessee accepted a bid to play against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Music City Bowl. Desperate for a program revival, UT fans filled the stadium in Nashville. It was clear they wanted this win.
And in a back and forth game, Tennessee appeared to get what they wanted late. Dooley’s team had built a 20-17 lead. North Carolina needed to mount a long drive to tie it. Two dumb defensive plays, including a bad penalty, got them in position to do just that.
But that’s not where the bad luck comes. No, it came on the final play. North Carolina was out of timeouts, just like LSU earlier, and the clock was running down. Vols fans and players thought it had run out and went onto the field to celebrate a win.
However, Butch Davis took advantage of no 10-second runoff rule in college at the time and had his players spike the ball despite not being properly lined up AND having too many men on the field. As a result, the clock actually stopped, and they just suffered a five-yard penalty. But they still were in field goal range and nailed a game-tying field goal.
UNC then won in overtime, and Tennessee finished the year 6-7. They had lost two games they thought they won. One was due to them having too many men on the field, and the other was due to the other team having too many men on the field. It kept them from what should’ve been an 8-5 year, which would have helped them significantly more with recruiting. But again, it was indicative of the curse hitting the Tennessee Vols.