A big night for the Big Orange – and Barbara’s baby boy

Tyler Bray's weird non-touchdown at the end of the first half. (AP photo by John Amis)

Tyler Bray's weird non-touchdown at the end of the first half. (AP photo by John Amis)

Her younger son is beginning his third season as Tennessee’s coach, but the sight of Barbara Dooley in orange still serves as a shock to the senses. For the first night of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic, the former grande dame of Georgia football came wearing the following:

Orange jacket. White blouse. White slacks. White sandals with orange piping, or whatever it is you call that mesh stuff on the top of women’s sandals.

Her husband, who once made his red-and-black living trying to squeeze the daylights out of the Big Orange, came more sedately clad. Vince Dooley had on khaki pants, a white polo shirt and white socks with Birkenstocks. (OK, I’m kidding about the footwear.)

“I’m doing fine now,” Barbara Dooley said, speaking 30 minutes before kickoff. “But in two hours I might not be.”

Ninety minutes later, Derek Dooley’s Vols were leading North Carolina State 22-7, having scored 16 points in 38 seconds. And I know what you’re saying: “Sixteen points in 38 seconds — two touchdowns and two two-point conversions, right?” Nope. It was wilder than that.

Get the picture: N.C. State leads 7-6 and, with 1:31 remaining in the longest first quarter in the history of humankind, faces fourth-and-3 at the Tennessee 35. Convert here and State has a chance to establish a working lead, and Wolfpack receivers have already displayed the capacity to shake free of Tennessee’s coverage, such as it is.

But not this time. Mike Glennon, whose quarterbacking brother Sean presided over a famous second-half collapse by Virginia Tech in the 2006 Chick-fil-A Bowl against Georgia, throws a pretty awful interception. Then Tyler Bray up and hits a Volunteer receiver named Rogers — through not Da’Rick Rogers, the infamous recruit from Calhoun, Ga. — for 72-yard touchdown. (For the record, the Rogers in question is named Zach.)

Some turnaround, huh? Fourth-down interception, first-down touchdown. Wait. It gets wilder. On the Pack’s next snap, Mike Glennon drops to throw and, for reasons unclear, holds the ball and retreats toward his end zone, whereupon he loses the ball, which is recovered by a State lineman but yields a safety. Now the Pack trails 15-7 and has to kick the ball to Tennessee, which again requires all of one play to score.

This time it’s a pretty reverse to the receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who’d already scored on a 41-yard reception. This 67-yard run puts Tennessee ahead 22-7, and here we pause for both breath and perspective: Three snaps have yielded three Vol scores. Whoa, Nelly.

But wait. It would get wilder still. State scored to draw within 22-14. The Vols moved to the Wolfpack 1 inside the final 30 seconds of the half. Bray sought to sneak for score but was hit in the backfield. He tried to extend the ball over the goal line — breaking the plane, as it were — but saw the ball knocked from his grasp. State recovered.

Replay was consulted, and one angle appeared to show the ball still in Bray’s hands above the plane. But Tennessee wasn’t granted its touchdown, prompting a massive roar from those in orange, who outnumbered those in State red 2-to-1. In all, it was a suitable (not to say clinical) ending to a first half that saw 586 yards gained.

For Barbara’s baby boy, it was a flying start to an important autumn. Derek Dooley had lost 14 of his first 25 games at Tennessee, and last season the Vols could win only one SEC game — that against Vanderbilt, that in overtime. Another halting season could leave Dooley the Younger looking for work.

But Tennessee, it must be said, looked pretty spiffy against an opponent that has been pegged as a potential ACC sleeper. They shrugged off their end-of-the-half gaffe to score twice more in the third quarter, building their lead to 32-14. They ran faster, hit harder and looked, not to put too fine a point on it, like a mid-table SEC team is supposed to look against an opponent from that presumed lesser league.

Through three quarters, Tennessee had outgained State by 141 yards, but the job wasn’t quite done. The Wolfpack scored early in the fourth to draw within 11 points, and if ever teams had reason to believe anything was possible, these two did. Sixteen points in 38 seconds, remember?

The rest of the game, perhaps mercifully, was rather tame. State wouldn’t score again. Tennessee would add a field goal. The Vols won 35-21, which happened to be the score of Boise State’s victory over Georgia in this event last season. This game, for what it’s worth, was far more entertaining than that monstrosity.

By Mark Bradley

124 comments Add your comment

VolCall

August 31st, 2012
11:18 pm

The Vols are back! mark this down–the vols will upset fl and ga and win the SEC east! Bray–best QB in the SEC!!!!

G

August 31st, 2012
11:18 pm

The ACC plays some bad football

Boots

August 31st, 2012
11:19 pm

Big win for the SEC. However, the Vols will still get clobbered in league play.

Huh?

August 31st, 2012
11:20 pm

Another good win over an ACC opponent.

Only in Moultrie

August 31st, 2012
11:21 pm

tennessee looked good. nice article.

Huh?

August 31st, 2012
11:23 pm

Tyler Bray might be the best at throwing the long ball that I’ve seen in a long while…very accurate.

Run game looked imporved…Patterson makes everyone forget about Da’rick Rogers…that guy looks legit. Defense grabs 4 pics against a tall senior quarterback..

Looks like the Vols are definately headed in the right direction….and might upset a team or two.

Buzz2011

August 31st, 2012
11:25 pm

Does UGA play UT? If they do, mark down another Dog lose to go along with the other five games they drop. The dogs will not beat UT this year even with a Dooley as coach

Craigee, aka Champs hero

August 31st, 2012
11:41 pm

Buzz2011, you idiot, UGA plays Tennessee every year. They are both in the SEC East. Time for you to rub one out and go to bed.

cloudodust

August 31st, 2012
11:46 pm

As a Vol fan, I was pleased to see the kicking game (albeit indoors) take a big swing into the positive. That’s +1 from last year. +2 is the departure of Dumb’Rick, the void filled by Patterson and Zach Rogers stepping up. +3 was Marlin Lane pushing Rajon Neal to hit the dang hole. +4 was coming out in the 2nd half and taking care of business. -1 was watching the new 3-4 go through it’s growing pains (I feel it will take the season to work it out but tonight, it worked good enough). +5 is 1-0. GBO

mike addington

August 31st, 2012
11:46 pm

Barbara Dooley on stage: very cool. Off stage: not what you think, surprised and disappointed to say. Vince, he’s the same no matter where you with him

Let's Be Real

August 31st, 2012
11:47 pm

UT will flounder against conference opponents and will close out the season with another losing record. Dooley is gone–he just doesn’t know it yet.

Gen Neyland

August 31st, 2012
11:49 pm

I won’t say, ‘We’re back” but it was a good start…Too bad Chick-fil-A didn’t drop 100,000 Orange and White ballons post game. GBO

Atlanta Vol

August 31st, 2012
11:50 pm

Whew…..great game! Vols looked very good against a very good team. Da’rick who? Patterson is a beast…Go Vols!

BigDawg

August 31st, 2012
11:50 pm

Huh? Great spelling! You must be 1 of 3 students in the state who did not graduate from high school. Sigh…

Tide Rising

August 31st, 2012
11:51 pm

This vol team would definitely have beat the dawgs tonight. Vandy looked pretty tough the other night even if they did lose. Between Vandy and UT I don’t think there’s any question that at least one of them beats the dawgs. If the vols can get there defensive secondary to play a little better they could easily be the surprise of the east.

Tide Rising

August 31st, 2012
11:52 pm

vols definitely look better than the dawgs. Looks to me like either they or vandy will beat uga this year. Course beating UGA aint nothing to be braggin bout.

RomeBigOrange

August 31st, 2012
11:53 pm

Vols are much improved. Patterson, Hunter and Bray…..look out!
Running game is much improved but still work to be done. Prayers out to the Tennessee fan that fell!

aubietiger

August 31st, 2012
11:55 pm

Congratulations to Tennessee. Glad you beat the ACC. Now we are going to take care of another ACC team tomorrow night. Vols will make alot of noise in the East this year. War Eagle!

Mike Bell 790

August 31st, 2012
11:56 pm

Huh?

August 31st, 2012
11:58 pm

Big Dawg…anyone who has read my posts would know that I am fairly articulate.

Pointing out a typo might bring you some sort of happiness, but is a sure sign of either not having anything constructive to say, or insecurity on your part.

SEC Fact Finder

September 1st, 2012
12:07 am

Big Win for the SEC. A week or so ago people were writing off Dooley and his Vols after DaRick Rogers decided the drugs were higher priority than his football teammates. Practically everyone of the Talking Heads said that without Rogers that Hunter would not be able to get open being double teamed, then came along Patterson who WAS open and now others will have defend the two big Wideouts and their slot reciever.

Does this mean The Vols will be a team to reckon with? No one should be saying that, the biggest improvements are said to become weeks 1 and weeks 2. After week 3 or 4 we should know how good Tennessee and many other are. Their defense looked spotty and their safeties did not play well in the first half, their defensive line and linebackers were aggressive against a team who did not run the ball that well.

All and all, I think teams like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Missorui, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia all could beat each other up and shake up the east side of the league. Momentum is a big big thing in college football and beating a decent school always makes those hot summer days of running, and hitting seem a little cooler.

Good luck to All of your teams and Go SEC!

Josh Smith for 3

September 1st, 2012
12:08 am

Glad I picked Tennessee to win tonight. Cordarelle Patterson is a lanky, weird lookin’ dude, but he’s a heck of a receiver. Good to see UT looking competitive in the SEC again.

oh brother!

September 1st, 2012
12:20 am

LOL…Rocky Top. Give me a break. UT looked sloppy against a weak ACC opponent. Nothing is back. MARK THAT DOWN!

Let's laugh

September 1st, 2012
12:26 am

Some idiot says, “The Vols are back” after beating NCS. Yeah and Fat Phil was a great coach.

Let's laugh

September 1st, 2012
12:29 am

I hate that Boise lost to MSU. End of the year, BSU will be ranked higher than MSU. MSU always finds a way to blow their season and BSU just knocked themselves out of a BCS bowl most likely.

Huh?

September 1st, 2012
12:31 am

oh brother! and other UGA fans….

I am neither a UGA or UT fan, so I have no dog in the fight. It is funny, however, to watch UGA fans start slinging mud toward UT after a nice (even impressive) win. On this blog, I’ve already read how ACC teams play bad football, hot UT will be killed in SEC play, and now you saying that UT looked sloppy against a weak ACC opponent.

Why do I say it’s funny? Because it is pretty obvious that UGA fans always want to put down teams that might be good enough to beat their beloved Dawgs. The more you put down another SEC team, the more sure one can be that you are a little concerned.

Huh?

September 1st, 2012
12:32 am

Let’s laugh…thanks for proving my point.

Also…Fat Phil is now Hall Of Fame Fat Phil. Guess you gotta be a pretty good coach to get into the HOF

Joe

September 1st, 2012
12:40 am

Patterson looks to be worth every dollar that Ufk had to pay to get him.

Looks like Scu will have to settle for 3rd in the East now.

Let's laugh

September 1st, 2012
12:40 am

1 NC in how many years. Payton, no NCs. Nebraska hand him his a__. Was not relevant his last, what, 8 or 10 years. Owned by Spurrier….yeah he was a pretty good coach, just not a great coach. They should have fired him many years before they did.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

GB's Hamburgers

September 1st, 2012
12:43 am

Tennessee did ok but got a lot of help.

Joe

September 1st, 2012
12:44 am

How did Tom O’Brien manage to do so well at BC? This is his 4th or 5th year at NCST and they still stink.

Who was more out of shape in the first game, Amerson from NCST or Clowney from Scu. The flip side of the proliferation of hype that has inundated the high school and college game is that if a kid spends all summer reading about his greatness, someone is going to come in and whip his ass come fall.

7576DAWG

September 1st, 2012
12:45 am

Someone said that NCS was a good defensive team. What they failed to mention was NCS was a good team and had a good defense when you compare them to other ACC teams.
As much as a lot of people including myself were pulling for NCS , we all forgot they were playing a mid level SEC team. No contest.

Huh?

September 1st, 2012
12:45 am

Won 75% of his games in the toughest conference in the country. He was the 3rd winningest active coach when UT fired him. His team played in the SEC CG game the year before he was fired, and UT won 10 games that year. On top of the NC that you mentioned (along with other SEC titles).

Beat UGA the whold decade of the 90s…beat Bama several years in a row…owned by Spurrier? Who wasn’t at that time?

Huh?

September 1st, 2012
12:46 am

7576 Dawg…why were you pulling for NCS and not the SEC?

Boston dawg

September 1st, 2012
12:48 am

Not sure how one could say Tennessee looked better than Georgia when Georgia has yet to play a game.

I know sense, and that doesn’t make any.

Huh?

September 1st, 2012
12:50 am

Funny how UGA fans are now slinging mud at UT (NCS sucked…UT isn’t good…etc)…pretty predictable though. UGA fans always do that when a team looks like they might could beat UGA. Sure sign of concern.

Joe

September 1st, 2012
12:51 am

Nobody can dispute Fat’s success on the field. As far as being a shady scumbag, he is right at the top of the heap. Were it not for Roy Kramer defending him the entire decade of the 90’s, Ufk would have been on constant probation.

Got to be hard to sleep at night knowing that you made your living by harboring murderers like Leonard Little, Dwayne Goodrich and Dante Stallworth, but Fat never seemed to have to hard of time with it, just as he was ok with cutting Johnny Majors’ throat to steal his job.

I have almost felt bad for Ufk the last 10 years for being so terrible as a program, but just seeing the reaction of their po-dunk fans after beating a mediocre ACC team, I remember why nothing sucks like a big orange.

Huh?

September 1st, 2012
1:11 am

Joe…Little, Goodrich and Stallworth never did anything while at UT…UT was never in trouble with the NCAA…and Fulmer is a Christian man.

Me thinks you are a UGA fan, who didn’t like Fulmer because of the amount of times he whipped UGA’s butt.

Let's laugh

September 1st, 2012
1:39 am

Bowden wasn’t owned by Spurrier. Neither were Spurrier’s bowl opponents (6-5, what, an SEC coach 6-5 in bowls).

75% of his games, but did he win the critical, great coach defining games? Ah no. For example, he coached 3 teams in the conference championship during the 2000’s with no wins.

[...] JournalPatterson, Vols beat NC State 35-21SI.comRant Sports -Team Speed Kills -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 396 news [...]

DAWGS RULE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 1st, 2012
1:42 am

FUNNNY HOW WHEN TENNESSEE GETS A LITTLE SUCESS THEY THINK THEY ARE GONNA WIMN THE SEC BIG JOKE!THE DAWGS WILL WALK ON TENNESSEE IN ATHENS BUT BRING IT ON AS NO FRUIT SUCKS LIKE A BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Glory between the hedges

September 1st, 2012
1:44 am

Wow UT fans coming out?? I have not seen this since AOL was big time and you still chatted in chat rooms. I read a previous comment that was just plain stupid by tide rising..vols look better than the dawgs huh?? How about waiting until we atleast run a fricking play. Son you have no idea what the dawgs are going to look like yet.

Let's laugh

September 1st, 2012
1:44 am

Home/away designation for SEC Championship

The team designated as the “home” team alternates between division champions; the designation goes to the Eastern champion in even-numbered years and the Western champion in odd-numbered years.

Had a friend that played QB in high school. He said, in the huddle he would sometimes say, “Odd numbers go long, even numbers go short.” Auburn prospects, no likely.

Let's laugh

September 1st, 2012
1:55 am

How come the polsters never evaluate, or appear to evaluate the coach in their rankings.

Richt will blow something along the way. He does 8 out of 10 times.
Just like Phat Phil,
just like Lloyd Carr,
just like Bob Stoops,
just like OSU that couldn’t beat Michigan,
just like the Texas A&M coach that always blew something
just like KSU coach that left and came back (had dismal record against top 20 teams)
and on and on and on.

Whopper Dawg

September 1st, 2012
2:33 am

TN needed that. Good game kid Dooley. TN will be a very, tough out this year.

BalkansDawg

September 1st, 2012
3:26 am

I’m no fan of TN and I hope the Dawgs crush ‘em in Athens this year. But you can’t argue that they grabbed a good win last night. No, I don’t think “they’re back,” but IMHO that was a game they would have lost last season — not because of a lack of talent or coaching, but because of a lack of depth and a lack of heart to keep fighting in the face of adversity. The Vols didn’t have that the last two years. They still have depth issues and are working out the kinks of a new defense (don’t forget that, Vols fans; you still gave up 21 to a mid-level ACC team), but what last night showed is that Dooley has fixed the lack of heart that plagued TN in losses the last two years. It’s an intangible that counts for a lot; and I think that TN showed heart last night. So, as much as it pains me to say it, good for them. Now, do we know how good they really are? I don’t think so. Game 1 doesn’t show how good anyone really is. We probably won’t know that until they play FL in week three. I’ll hold my judgment until then. Of course, the same goes for the Dawgs… A win at Mizzou will go a long way to showing what these Dawgs are made of, but we may not know for sure until we play Vandy and TN in late September.

2_dawgs

September 1st, 2012
4:33 am

Always a pleasure to see SEC defeat a non-conference team. Bama next up.

PLEASE!!!!

September 1st, 2012
5:51 am

Tennessee beat a second rate team out of one the worst football conferences in the nation. .N.C.State has yet to have a wining record record in the past five years .Are the Vol fans so desperate ,they actually think there S.E.C. opponents are that big and slow as N.C.State?
Sorry vol fans when you hit the meat grinder of your S.E.C. teams you will quickly realize how bad N.C.State really is.

Buzz2011

September 1st, 2012
6:23 am

@Cragee boy.. Glad the Dogs play UT.. Now you know as well, the Dogs will lose that game as well. Sleep Rocky Top boy..