Tennessee football: Vols 10 greatest seasons with junior starting quarterback

Photo by Andy Lyons /Allsport
Photo by Andy Lyons /Allsport /
8 of 11
Photo by Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT
Photo by Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT /

4. 1993: 10-2 (7-1)*

Starting quarterback: Heath Shuler

Citrus Bowl berth; No. 12 AP; No. 11 Coaches

*Originally 9-2-1 (6-1-1)

Three years before Peyton Manning raised the level of expectations for Tennessee football, Heath Shuler was running an offense that Phillip Fulmer once said was designed to score every play. And in 1993, that seemed to happen a lot.

The dramatic 1992 season, Shuler’s first year as a starter, saw the Vols start the year 3-0 with Fulmer, beating the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators, en route to getting to 5-0 only to lose three straight under Johnny Majors. So Majors was fired at the end of the year, and Fulmer took over, winning the Hall of Fame Bowl against the Boston College Eagles in a blowout.

So with 1993 being Fulmer’s first season as the full-time head coach, expectations were high behind him and Shuler and David Cutcliffe coaching the offense. And that offense went off, with scoring games of 50, 38, 34, 42 and 52 in their first five games. One of those, however, was a close loss in The Swamp to Florida.

This year, Tennessee football also ended the Alabama Crimson Tide’s winning streak over them, as they tied them 17-17 on the road when UA was defending national champions, ranked No. 2 and on a 28-game winning streak. However, the Vols were up 17-9 late and allowed a touchdown and two-point conversion. Still, an NCAA violation retroactively awarded them the win here.

After that, they won out to finish the year 9-1-1 (later 10-1). The distractions of Shuler likely leaving for the NFL after the bowl game, though, resulted in a 31-13 pounding against the Penn State Lions in the Citrus Bowl. Shuler did leave, but such a finish is enough to make this the Vols’ fourth best year ever with a junior quarterback.