The first few weeks of the College Football season are usually easier games for most Power-5 schools right? You call up a local FCS or Division Two team. Talk about the schedule and time of the game. Then most of the time, you pay the school to blow them out. Just in order to walk into your conference schedule looking fiercer and powerful.
You have a school that has won 750+ games in more than 100 seasons of playing football. Their stadium holds over 100,000 people. That’s more than the population of a town. They are the winner of 6 National Titles. On the other sideline, there’s a team which moved up to the FBS in 2014. Yeah, most people would predict for the first school to dominate the game.
But that didn’t happen. The University of Tennessee Volunteers beat the Appalachian State Mountaineers by 7 points in OVERTIME. Let that sink in. A Sun Belt team pushed an SEC team to the limit. Don’t cheer Volunteer fans, just don’t.
Key Stats and Highlights
Most First Downs: Tennessee with 19 First Downs
Most Rushing Yards: App State with 184
Most Passing Yards: Tennessee with 192
Most Lost Fumbles: Tennessee fumbled the ball 4 times
Time of Possession: App State had the ball longer
Before this article turns highly subjective, let me start by saying this. This was an excellent game. App State came to play football. They did not get distracted by the primetime game, large crowd, and even the “SEC is better than everyone” hype. They came to matriculate the ball down the field and stop their opponent from blowing them out. I’ll give UT credit as well, they fought back and won. They scored the last 14 points of the game. Those points were scored in the 4th Quarter and in Overtime. Talking about clutch. They won the game, point blank period. Their record is 1-0. They are still undrafted. They gave their fan base the result that was wanted. BUT, UT was embarrassed tonight. From my perspective, let me explain
First off, having any team push you to overtime means two things. It means that it was a very close game or that you barely made it to the finish and you needed more time to finally stop your opponent. Tennessee barely made it out of the contest. App State couple easily pushed the game to the 2nd overtime and even just need the game without overtime. Butch Jones has loaded his program with 5 and 4-star recruits. Top-100 players are drawn to this program for a reason. Beating a Sun Belt team by 7 points isn’t one of those reasons. I’m not downing App State; they are known to bring the heat every single game. They won their first bowl game last season. Like they are good. But Tennessee was a 21-point favorite. Many people expected UT to win by 21 or more points. I don’t condone gambling, but even I believed that they could cover the spread.
Instead of covering the spread, they covered their terrible performance with luck. UT was lucky to walk out of this game as the winner. For the majority of the first half, App State played way better than their opponent. They did what they had to do. UT didn’t really start pushing the ball until the 4th Quarter. So what happened the previous 3rd quarters? Where was the SEC Dominance? The Home Field Advantage? And even the power of having depth on your roster? Every advantage that UT had was pretty much cold tonight.
UT is a favorite to win the SEC. Not the SEC East, the whole conference. That’s the best favorite to be in the preseason besides being the National Champion favorite. I really want UT to win the SEC. I see the true potential of this team. Tonight, their potential was not shown. Do better Tennessee. You’re in the SEC.
Good game App State. Although the W wasn’t gained, you gained so much respect tonight. Your team is doing something right.
Lead Photo Credit: tikikatie23 via Flickr Creative Commons