This Week in UT Sports History is a weekly column written by RTI columnist Lexie Little
Historic. But not in a good way.
One word describes the 2019 Tennessee Volunteers’ first two games, starting 0-2 for the first time in three decades. For a program steeped in winning tradition, a loss to Georgia State followed by a double-overtime loss to BYU mars its once sterling reputation. Time alone will shape this year’s football narrative, but years past remind Vol faithful of happier times. And other sports continue their storied traditions, offering an outlet for orange pride off the gridiron.
Escape the 2019 season in “This Week in UT Sports History.”
Sept. 9, 1995
Ten seconds on the clock. Fourth quarter. Vols. Bulldogs. Tied at 27 in Neyland Stadium.
Georgia’s Robert Edwards exited the game with an injury after running for 156 yards. The Vols attacked in the air with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing for 349 yards leading up to this moment.
Freshman kicker Jeff Hall felt he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders as he stretched his legs for the game-winning attempt.
From 34 yards. It’s up. It’s good. Time then expired as the Dawgs tried to drive.
“Jeff Hall is the big man on campus,” announcers said as the Vols scattered the field. “Tennessee, 30, Georgia, 27.”
Just one year prior, baseball legend Todd Helton started his first game at quarterback against Georgia in a 41-23 victory in Athens. His successor, Super Bowl champion and NFL MVP Peyton Manning, never lost to the University of Georgia, with 1995 marking the first win. In fact, the Tennessee Vols did not lose to the Bulldogs during the last decade of the 20th century, largely thanks to dominant offensive play. But it was a kicker, not a quarterback, who earned credit for the 1995 win.
Manning threw an interception with less than four minutes on the clock that almost allowed Georgia to drive for the win. Kirby Smart, now head coach at his alma mater, picked off Tennessee’s sophomore quarterback to give Georgia hurler Mike Bobo one more chance to save the game (and perhaps his head coach’s position). But Brice Hunter dropped the ball as coach Ray Goff dropped to 11-11-1. Goff’s tenure ended at the end of the season, and the game ended on the points from the freshman placekicker.
The 2019 Vols have time to prepare for a match-up against Smart’s No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs who come to Knoxville Oct. 5. Kicking has proved a bright spot for the seemingly dull Vols so far this season, with Brent Cimaglia hitting a 51-yard kick against BYU and starting the year perfect on his field goal tries. The Vols may not top the 2019 Dawgs, but kickers make a difference.
Tennessee takes on UT-Chattanooga this Saturday at noon in Knoxville. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
Sept. 11, 2012
The 2012 Tennessee Rowing team, which competed in Conference USA, took to the water for the first time on Sept. 11. South-Region Coach of the Year Lisa Glenn and the Lady Vols got an early start on the misty Tennessee River. Hopes remained high for the varsity rowers who earned the C-USA conference title a season prior.
“Our goal this fall is just to really pick up where we left off last spring,” senior Arin Anderson said in an interview with UTSports.com. “Being conference champs, we want to stay strong and build from where we left off…we’re excited to get back out here and just get the job done.”
Without enough teams to form an SEC rowing conference, Tennessee opted to compete in C-USA events until moving to the Big 12 in 2015. The Lady Vols earned two championship titles in three years leading up to the 2012-13 season. They finished runners-up to Oklahoma at the C-USA Championship in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in 2013, repeating as runners-up to the Sooners again in 2014.
Glenn, through 21 years as head coach, has led the Lady Vols to eight NCAA Championship appearances. Without formal recruitment like other sports, the rowing program must rely on club-like recruiting methods, frequenting summer orientation sessions and Welcome Week events on campus. Glenn’s rowers remain known for their athletic and academic prowess, historically earning high honors in the conference and in the classroom. According to Tennessee Athletics, the program has earned 66 CRCA Scholar-Athlete awards since 2001.
The 2019 season opens Oct. 19 at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Massachusetts.
Sept. 12, 2014
Vol Soccer barely missed a huge upset against the second-ranked University of Virginia early in September 2014. Tennessee led the Cavaliers at halftime thanks to a header from junior Hannah Wilkinson 10 minutes into the match, but the Cavs rallied from behind for two second half goals, winning 2-1.
A free kick from Kiah Allen set up Wilkinson’s header near the right post, marking her 17th career goal. Wilkinson, a native of Whangarei, New Zealand, went on to earn 33 career goals as a Lady Vol. She earned spots on the 2014 SEC All-Tournament team and the 2014 Top Drawer Soccer Top 100 Player list as a result of her tenacity on the field. She played 86 minutes of the match-up against Virginia, and she frequently played more than 80 minutes in games that season.
Wearing No. 17 to honor the age she began playing for the New Zealand national team, Wilkinson remains one of the most decorated Tennessee Soccer athletes to date. However, she could not add a win against a top-two opponent to her list of accolades that season. Virginia’s Kristen McNabb slid the ball past Tennessee goalkeeper Jamie Simmons in the 50th minute to tie the game at one-all before Danielle Colaprico scored again on Simmons’ weak left side of the box. Simmons did, however, make four saves in the match-up.
The Lady Vols finished 10-10-2 that season.
The 2019 Vols (5-1) continue their season this Sunday against UMass in Amherst, Massachusetts, at 1:00 p.m.