The Vols own a 37-2-2 mark in the series with UTC but haven’t played them since 1969. It was the 1958 matchup between these two teams that gives the series some fire. In 1957, the Vols beat Chattanooga in a hard-fought 28-13 contest. A year later, Tennessee was 2-4 headed into a home game with Chattanooga and head coach Bowden Wyatt’s seat was getting warm in the minds of some fans. Tennessee needed a win to get back on track and it looked like it would come against a Chattanooga team that was coming off a loss to Tennessee Tech.
It wasn’t to be. Chattanooga head coach Scrappy Moore (definitely an All-Name Team member) led his team to a 14-6 win over the Vols – a late touchdown from Tennessee was all that kept the Vols from being shutout. It was, without question, one of the worst losses in program history. To make matters worse, the 2,000 or so Chattanooga fans in attendance got rowdy, stormed the field and tore down Tennessee’s goalposts.
A riot ensued. Police were called, tear gas was fired and fire hoses were used against Chattanooga fans. In all, 10 people were arrested including Hamilton County sheriff James “Bookie” Turner.
A part of the goalpost from that game sits beneath the bar in the basement of the Lambda Chi Alpha house. Tennessee didn’t bother to rebuild the goalposts that season, instead opting for temporary versions consisting of thin wooden posts. The week after losing to Chattanooga, the Vols rebounded to knock off No. 7 Ole Miss 18-16. Those wooden goalposts fell at the hands of the home team after beating the Rebels and another set was erected.
Since the NCAA split Division I football into two levels in 1978, the Vols haven’t lost to an FCS team. The Mocs are certainly a solid FCS program, but they won’t be able to hang with Tennessee for more than a half. No goalposts are coming down today.