For years, the term “Vol luck” has been synonymous with bad luck. Vol fans and media alike have joked that the 1998 team sold their souls and used up all the good luck for a couple decades in order to win the National Championship.
But after years and years of plays going against them, the Vols are finally getting the lucky breaks.
After almost two decades of minor mishaps and major heartbreaks, Vol luck appears to have finally shifted in favor of Tennessee. Just look at the 2016 season so far.
Not only have the Vols found improbable ways to beat rivals Florida and Georgia, but look at their first three games as well. Appalachian State missed a field goal, missed an extra point, and had some of the worst clock management at the end of regulation that ended up pushing the game to overtime. And in overtime, Josh Dobbs fumbled the ball at the goal line and Jalen Hurd recovered it in the end zone for the game-winning score.
Then there’s the Battle at Bristol against Virginia Tech. The Hokies fumbled the ball five times in the game, and Tennessee recovered all five of them. In fact, the Vols have been uncanny when it comes to recovering fumbles this season, picking up 19 of a possible 25 fumbles on the year.
The Vols led the entire time against Ohio, but even that one took some lucky plays for it not be uglier than it was.
Then there’s the Florida and Georgia games.
Tennessee faced a 21-0 deficit against Florida and stormed all the way back, scoring 38 unanswered points to get their first win over the Gators since 2004. And Jauan Jennings made one of the greatest catches in Tennessee history to give the Vols the decisive score.
Jauan Jennings gives the Vols the lead with this incredible catch, and they never look back pic.twitter.com/KCkYaTaoVc
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) September 27, 2016
But Jennings’ catch against Florida won’t go down as his best catch of his career. No, that title will likely go to his Hail Mary grab he made to propell the Vols to victory over Georgia.
ROCKET MAN!!! pic.twitter.com/MfgyfuvxqT
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) October 1, 2016
The Vols’ Hail Mary victory over the Bulldogs is the most obvious sign that Vol luck has finally changed. Tennessee went from losing after the game was “over” against LSU and North Carolina in 2010, losing to Vanderbilt on a touchdown run by a local quarterback in 2013, and losing on a fourth and 14 touchdown pass to Florida last year to starting out 5-0 with some inconceivable wins this year.
Tennessee has trailed in four of their five wins this season. They faced a 13-3 deficit against Appalachian State, 14-0 to Virginia Tech, 21-0 to Florida, and 17-0 to Georgia. Yet the Vols would come back to win all of them.
So far, this season has the feeling of something special with the way these games have gone. They hearken back to seasons like those that the 2013 Auburn team or 2014 Florida State team had. It’s still too early to start throwing around Playoff predictions for the Vols, especially with games against Texas A&M and Alabama still remaining in the next couple weeks. But this season feels different than any other season the Vols have had in over a decade.
And it would seem Vol luck has finally changed.