October 27, 2007: Tennessee 27, South Carolina 24 (OT)
4th and 10 at USC 26 Tennessee penalty 5 yard false start accepted. 4th and 15 at USC 31 Daniel Lincoln 48 yard field goal GOOD. 24 24
If there’s a metaphor for the Volunteers’ 2007 season, it’s those two plays. With the play clock running down to the final seconds of the fourth quarter, UT’s kicker lines up to try to make a 43 yard field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime, misses… and gets a chance for redemption because his own team was penalized for a false start.
In crunch time, Tennessee’s freshman kicker outshone the heralded Ryan Succop, as Lincoln hit the FG to tie in regulation and the FG to put his team ahead in OT, while Succop missed a 41 yarder to tie the game and send it to a second OT period.
The way the game played out with the kickers obscured the fact that this was a wild one. UT dominated the first half, marching to a 21-0 lead that it took into the third quarter. Spurrier, showing his legendary patience with quarterbacks, had benched Chris Smelley by mid-second quarter, but had little to show for it.
However, Blake Mitchell began to heat up in the third quarter, although USC turned the ball over on downs at the UT four yard line on its first drive. From there, the Gamecocks’ defense stiffened and South Carolina scored touchdowns on its next three drives to tie the game early in the fourth quarter.
Both offenses farted around for most of the fourth quarter until SC started a drive with a little over three minutes left that culminated in a 49 yard Succop field goal (UT even called a timeout to ice him) that gave Carolina its first lead of the game.
Unfortuately that was the high water mark of the game for the Evil Genius.
This is what the end of the game looked like if you were on drugs:
SC outgained UT 501 yards to 317, had the ball for almost 36 and a half minutes, but was -3 in turnover margin. Spurrier threw a headset at least once.
The stars of the game were Eric Berry for UT (12 tackles, 1 int, 1 fumble recovery) and Cory Boyd (20 carries, 160 yards) for the ‘Cocks.
This was the game that allowed UT to take charge of the SEC East race due to Georgia’s win over Florida that day. Still, any game that results in a gut wrenching loss for SOS certainly has its good points.
You can read the AP recap here.