Georgia-Tennessee, A Non-Band Trip

You may have seen my previous chronicle of a Redcoat’s gameday life on the day of the South Carolina game.

The band (unfortunately) doesn’t go on every road trip, sending the pep band instead. This year the Derbies (as we call them) went to Tennessee, and they’ll be going to Vanderbilt as well.

I’m not in the pep band, but darn my luck, I had a ticket to the game this weekend.

And my Tennessee cousin got married the following day, which may have been another reason for making the trip north. (Congrats Elizabeth and Jaime!)

It was a great a trip, and an even better game. Thanks to my girlfriend, Brittany Taylor, for taking all these pictures! All credit goes to her.

Cornhole Dad Cornhole Brian
The day started out with a competitive game of corn hole. The biggest travesty of the weekend was that it never got finished…right as my dad and I grabbed the lead! You can see us trying to emulate our bowling stroke in the underhanded bean bag toss. It actually worked pretty well.

Brian Throwing Football
And it isn’t a proper tailgate without throwing the pig skin around. That’s me, ready to heave a pass to  my uncle. Looking at the previous pictures, apparently this is my concentration face. It looks the same in corn hole.

Vol Network Radio
We got a chance to take a glance at the Vol Network’s pre-game show booth on our way to the stadium. We just missed the Vol Walk, but either way we were navigating a swift sea of orange.

 

 

Neyland
Then we finally got into the hospital stadium for the game. All the Georgia injuries may have doomed us for the year, leaving us razor thin at running back and receiver. Neyland’s crowd certainly brought their A-game on Saturday, and what a game it was.

Aaron Murray
Fortunately, this guy didn’t get hurt. Aaron Murray made all the difference in the world for Georgia. You need a big run to keep Tennessee from pulling away? No problem. He’ll rip off a 57-yard keeper. Need a do-or-die touchdown when trailing by seven points with 1:54 left? Don’t worry. He’ll hit Rantavious Wooten with 00:05 left to send the game to overtime.

Scoreboard
And his team will come out on top after Marshall Morgan boots the game winner (he hit a 57-yarder to open the scoring, too) following the Tennessee turnover. It was the fourth time I’ve seen the Bulldogs play overtime in person. Now I’ve seen two wins (Alabama 2007, Tennessee 2013) and two losses (Florida 2010, Michigan State 2011). And I’ve got to say, none of them were as thrilling as this one. We had our chances in the two losses, and shouldn’t have even gone to overtime in Tuscaloosa. This roller coaster in Neyland… the Dawgs absolutely stole it. We should have been beaten at least twice, but we finally got a few breaks late in the game. And it was enough.

Team Celebrates
And it was thrilling enough to bring the players back out for a post-game celebration. I was just standing in the upper deck, still not fully comprehending what I had just seen (the tying touchdown and overtime possession both happened right in front of me). I had been so sure we were going to lose that I had a hard time believing we actually won.

But that’s what has makes this team so fun (and stressful). They never quit. The defense made a goal line stand to keep South Carolina from coming back, and the offense killed off the final eight minutes. When LSU took a late four-point edge, Murray led the team back down the field to grab the lead, and the defense made another stand. Against Tennessee, Murray again kept the ice-water poise we’ve gotten to know so well this year as he calmly led the offense 75 yards without a timeout to tie the game.

And we may need it this week against Missouri. Certainly we’ll need the offense to be clicking, because the Tigers can put up points in a hurry.

Until then, I’m going to be happy that we left Knoxville with a win.