2. 2015: Tennessee football defeats Georgia Bulldogs 38-31
It was the turning point game for the Vols that gave them momentum under Butch Jones. Tennessee football appeared to be a program that had finally arrived with this one. But it didn’t seem that way.
After a 2-3 start, the Vols fell behind to the Dawgs 24-3. Jeremy Pruitt’s defense was amazing. They had forced an interception early, and when the Vols got down to the Georgia one-yard line, they forced a fumble and returned it the other way for a touchdown. So for two straight years, his defense had a touchdown against UT.
That combined with a punt return TD meant this had all the makings of a Georgia blowout. But up 24-3 and with all hope lost on Rocky Top, Joshua Dobbs came to life. He converted a fourth down pass to Josh Smith that was returned for a touchdown. A kickoff return fumble set up another Vols touchdown, so they went into halftime only down 24-17. Pruitt’s defense was never the same after that.
In the second half, Dobbs continued to go off. Tennessee football scored three touchdowns and took control of the game in the fourth quarter. Up 38-31, the Dawgs needed their offense to make a play down the stretch. They couldn’t and the Vols ended up winning.
Jeremy Pruitt’s coaching grade: C
This easily could have been a D or an F. His unit gave up over 500 yards to the Vols and allowed Joshua Dobbs to torch them from the late second half onward. However, Pruitt’s unit had a rash of injuries in the week leading up to this game and also an arrest. So the distractions limited what he could do. On top of that, he did get a defensive touchdown. So while the performance wasn’t great, it was enough to avoid any sort of failing grade.