Tied 28-28 with the ball at his own 39-yard line, 35 seconds and two timeouts at his disposal, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley let the clock run out at the end of regulation Saturday against Missouri. Fans booed what they saw as a gutless move. Dooley later said he took the safe route rather than risk an interception or blocked punt that Missouri might have parlayed into a game-winning score.
That's odd reasoning since the quick-striking Vols have put together six touchdown drives this season that required less than 35 seconds, plus one that took just 37 and one that needed 41.
Here's a recap:
North Carolina State: 2 plays, 54 yards, 34 seconds (TD came on a 41-yard pass from Tyler Bray to Cordarrelle Patterson)
North Carolina State: 1 play, 72 yards, 11 seconds (TD game on a 72-yard pass from Bray to Zach Rogers)
North Carolina State: 1 play, 67 yards, 16 seconds (TD came on a 67-yard run by Patterson)
Georgia State: 2 plays, 40 yards, 30 seconds (TD came on a 19-yard pass from Bray to Mychal Rivera)
Georgia State: 3 plays, 79 yards, 41 seconds (TD came on an 11-yard pass from Bray to Justin Hunter)
Akron: 1 play, 19 yards, 7 seconds (TD came on a 19-yard pass from Bray to Hunter)
Troy: 2 plays, 81 yards, 37 seconds (TD came on a 40-yard pass from Bray to Hunter)
Troy: 1 play, 61 yards, 16 seconds (TD came on a 46-yard pass from Bray to Hunter following a 15-yard pass interference penalty)
Keep in mind that these were all touchdown drives. With the score tied, all Tennessee needed at the end of Saturday's regulation was to get in position for a field goal.
Making Dooley's controversial move at the end of regulation even more befuddling is the fact he took a much bigger gamble in the second overtime, letting walk-on placement holder Tyler Drummer run the ball on a fake field goal from the 5-yard line.
IT SHALL COME TO PASS
Tennessee literally abandoned the run late in the game. The Vols' final five plays of regulation were pass attempts, and 12 of their 13 overtime plays were passes. The lone exception was Drummer's TD run off the fake field goal.
MIZZOU LOVES OVERTIME
Heading into Saturday's game, Tennessee and Missouri were tied for the most overtime wins in NCAA history with 10 each. Missouri now owns sole possession of the top spot with an 11-4 record. Tennessee is second at 10-4.
Saturday's game marked the first quadruple-overtime game since Nov. 24, 2007, when the Big Orange beat Kentucky 52-50 in four overtimes at Lexington.
This was Tennessee's first-ever overtime loss at home. The Vols now stand 6-1 at Neyland Stadium and 4-3 on the road in OT games.
THESE STATS ARE OFFENSIVE
The Vols have produced 4,951 yards of total offense through the first 10 games. That's just two yards off the school record of 4,953 yards for 10 games set in Peyton Manning's senior year of 1997.
Tennessee has cracked the 500-yard barrier five times in its first 10 games this fall. The 1997 team recorded six 500-yard games.
The Vols have scored at least 40 points five times this season. The last time a Tennessee team accomplished that feat was 1996.
MAKING A PIG OF HIMSELF
Freshman receiver Pig Howard recorded his first career receiving touchdown, a 16-yard catch in the third quarter. Howard threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera in Game 8 at South Carolina.
ANOTHER BIG DAY FOR BRAY
Tyler Bray's 404-yard passing effort was the fourth time in his career he has crossed the 400-yard mark. He leads active SEC quarterbacks
with 12 career 300-yard games.
With 3,216 passing yards this fall, Bray needs just 72 yards Saturday at Vanderbilt to overtake Peyton Manning's 1996 total of 3,287 for third place on Tennessee's all-time single-season list. A 307-yard outing would move Bray past Erik Ainge (3,522 yards in 2007) and into second place. Manning set the single-season record of 3,819 passing yards as a senior in 1997. Bray is 603 yards shy of equaling that mark.
HUNTER KEEPS CATCHING ON
With 141 receiving yards on nine catches, junior wideout Justin Hunter now has eight 100-yard receiving efforts during his career.
His 979 receiving yards this fall places him ninth on Tennessee's all-time single-season list. With 102 yards Saturday at Vanderbilt he would move into third place, vaulting past No. 8 Denarius Moore (981 in 2010), No. 7 Lucas Taylor (1,000 in 2007), No. 6 Kelley Washington (1,010 in 2001), No. 5 Da' Rick Rogers (1,040 in 2011), No. 4 Joey Kent (1,055 in 1995) and No. 3 Joey Kent (1,080 in 1996). The only pass-catchers ahead of Hunter would be second-place Marcus Nash (1,170 in 1997) and No. 1 Robert Meachem (1,298 in 2006).
Hunter's 65 receptions ranks seventh on Tennessee's single-season list. With 12 catches versus Vanderbilt he would become the program's all-time leader, zooming past No. 6 Da'Rick Rogers (67 in 2011), No. 5 Joey Kent (68 in 1996), No. 4 Joey Kent (69 in 1995), No. 3 Robert Meachem (71 in 2006), No. 2 Lucas Taylor (73 in 2007) and Marcus Nash (76 in 1997).
SPREADING THE CARRIES
Tennessee scored three rushing touchdowns versus Missouri but none of the three involved an actual running back. Wideout Cordarrelle Patterson had a five-yard TD run, linebacker A.J. Johnson had a three-yard score in the "Beast" package and Drummer added his five-yard TD off a fake field goal. Johnson has scored five touchdowns this fall on just 11 carries.
BLOOP KICK BACKFIRES
Tennessee scored a touchdown on its third possession Saturday but the 7-0 lead lasted just 23 seconds. Michael Palardy's bloop kickoff was fielded at the 13-yard line by Missouri's Jimmie Hunt, who promptly "took it to the house." His 87-yard runback was the first time a Vol opponent has returned a kickoff for a TD since Oct. 10, 2009, when Georgia’s Brandon Boykin hauled one 100 yards for a score.
IT'S DIME TIME IN TENNESSEE
Tennessee opened the game in a dime package (six defensive backs) for the second contest in a row. Cornerbacks Jaron Toney and Eric Gordon got the starts in place of nose tackle Daniel McCullers and linebacker Herman Lathers.