5. Oct. 6, 2007
No. 9 Florida Gators at No. 1 LSU Tigers
Final score: LSU wins 28-24
A week after the Auburn Tigers upset the Florida Gators, Tennessee football had its biggest day ever to breath new life into it. Up to that point, there had been calls for Phillip Fulmer to be replaced after the Vols’ 1-2 start with a senior quarterback. Then, the morning of this day, the Knoxville News Sentinel using quotes from anonymous former players to criticize Fulmer.
Hours after that article ran, though, the Vols, put together their best performance of the season, dominating the Georgia Bulldogs as one-point underdogs 35-14, jumping out to a 28-0 lead. This was a UGA team that had gotten up to No. 12 after an early loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks by rebounding to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide and Ole Miss Rebels en route to a 4-1 start.
All of a sudden, the Vols were 1-1 in the SEC and had a key win over a major East rival. Meanwhile, Florida had lost to Auburn the week before and was set to face the No. 1 ranked LSU Tigers on the road on this night. That’s where this fun all came.
In one of his finest coaching performances ever, Les Miles’s LSU Tigers came back from a 24-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to win 28-24. Part of that win was Miles going for it on five fourth downs and converting all of them and his superb use of Ryan Perrilloux coming off the bench at quarterback to run options on short-yardage plays.
With that win, the Gators had two conference losses, the Dawgs had two conference losses, and the Vols only had one conference loss and the tiebreaker over UGA. At that point, they were back in control of their own destiny to win the SEC despite a 59-20 loss to Florida a few weeks earlier.
UT had clearly regrouped during the bye, and this was just one of those perfect days in which Tennessee football dominated an SEC rival and their biggest obstacle lost a key SEC game. Fulmer responded to that article by calling it a cheap shot. Everything was perfect, until it wasn’t.