1. “Romp in The Swamp” Hail Mary
No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers at No. 17 Florida Gators
Vols WR James Bankes catches a Hail Mary to end the first half and give UT a 7-3 lead.
Similar to the Georgia Bulldogs Hail Mary game, we don’t consider Tennessee football lucky to pull out this win. They dominated the second half for a 24-10 victory, their last win in The Swamp and one they had no trouble pulling off.
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However, this game did have the luckiest play in UT history. Heading into the game, the Vols were 2-0 and looking to make amends for their 8-5 season in 2002. This was their first test. The Florida Gators were 2-1, also looking to make amends for an 8-5 2002 campaign under second-year head coach Ron Zook.
Florida’s only loss was after blowing a 33-10 lead to the Miami Hurricanes on the road. So they were deemed to be a very good team and were the favorites playing this game at home. In a hideous first half, they went up 3-0.
The Vols could not get anything going, but Zook’s mistakes helped them out late. He mismanaged the clock late in the first half trying to get to halftime with the lead and punted. The Vols got to midfield and spiked the ball with four seconds left.
Phillip Fulmer decided to take a shot at the end zone. Clausen, who didn’t have a strong arm, took his chance and chucked the ball into the right corner. Everybody was bunched up in the end zone, and the ball bounced off a Gator defensive back’s chest right into the hands of James Banks, who caught it for a touchdown. The play gave UT a 7-3 lead at halftime.
That was all Tennessee football needed to get their momentum going. And it was incredibly unlikely. This is a Hail Mary that was solely about luck. It wasn’t like Jauan Jennings out-jumping defenders. Banks caught a ball after it was tipped and fell right into his hands. That’s enough to put this No. 1 on the list.