9. Nov. 17, 2001
No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers at Kentucky Wildcats
Final score: Tennessee Vols win 38-35
Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, Tennessee football would blow out the Kentucky Wildcats regularly but always have one scare every few years. This was that year. At 7-1 and 4-1 in the league, the Vols were back in the national title and SEC East races after an early loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.
Everything was setting up for a Dec. 1 showdown between them and the Florida Gators to win the East. But they almost overlooked a 2-7 UK team. Coming off a 49-28 win over the Memphis Tigers, the Vol offense came alive with the return of receiver Donte Stallworth to complement Travis Stephens and the emergence of Kelley Washington and Jason Witten.
But this one would require a comeback. The Wildcats shocked the world by jumping out earlu lead thanks to quarterback Jared Lorenzen. Meanwhile, the Vols couldn’t get anything going. Somehow, the running game went silent in this one, and they didn’t get their first first down until midway through the second quarter, already down 21-0. That’s when Clausen to Stallworth came alive.
One play after their first first down, those two connected for a 60-yard touchdown to make it 21-7 at halftime. Clausen then hit Washington for a 48-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. Then the defense tied it up after Bernard Jackson intercepted a pass that Albert Haynesworth deflected. Jackson fumbled the ball in the end zone, but Constantin Ritzman recovered.
So tied at 21, they were back in business. But UK wouldn’t go away. They jumped out again 28-21. Clausen and Stallworth went back to work, connecting twice again to finally take a 35-28 in the fourth. But UK tied it again. In the end, a 44-yard field goal by Alex Walls and late Kentucky turnover secured the Vols the win. It was not easy, though.