No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Final score: Tennessee wins 28-18
As they hit their peak run in the 1990s, Tennessee football did the very unique thing of beating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish three straight times over a 10-year period when the two faced each other. This was the third time, and it was a thriller.
Ahead of the game, Phillip Fulmer told his players this would be a game they told their grandkids about. This wasn’t the classic Notre Dame teams, as they were 3-4 in Bob Davie’s fifth season. But had won three of their last four, and the game was in South Bend, so it could have gotten close.
The Vols’ defense made sure that didn’t happen. At 5-1, they were still very much in the national title hunt. Driving early, Albert Haynesworth sacked them to knock them out of field goal range. On their next drive, Julian Battle forced a fumble at the one that Constatine Ritzman recovered.
Then, on with ND driving into UT territory again, Mark Jones forced a fumble that Battle recovered and took to the house for a touchdown. Notre Dame finally got on the board with a field goal and then a pick-six in the third to go up 10-7. But the Vols responded with two touchdown passes from Casey Clausen to go up 21-10.
They cut it to 21-18, but the Vols then drove the length of the field, and on fourth and goal from the one, Clausen scored with 35 seconds left to secure a 28-18 win. It was a thrilling victory that got the Vols on a roll en route to winning the SEC East, as they would finish 11-2 and in the top five that year.