Jacksonville, Florida (January 2, 2015) – The Tennessee Volunteers (7-6) came to the TaxSlayer Bowl (formerly “Gator”) at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville jacked-up to play. The slow-footed, Iowa Hawkeyes (7-6) were out-muscled, out-hustled, and out -coached to a 45-28 Tennessee Vol victory. They played like jack____! And don’t let this final score fool you! Tennessee had a 28-0 lead early in the second quarter after their fourth possession of the game. Eventually the Vols had a 42-7 lead before they emptied their benches to get everybody a chance to play in Tennessee’s first bowl win since 2007. We can’t even say that the Vols drew first blood as Hawkeye DB Desmond King ran into his HC Kirk Ferentz along the sideline and put a bloody gash over his right eye. For Collegefootballfan.com it was disappointing finale – a clunker of a game – to finish our season in which we attended the most games ever, 26, including four bowl games right before this one which were generally well-played and competitive. By the end of the third, we’d see enough. The Hawkeyes didn’t show up despite their final three touchdowns to give the score some undeserved respectability. We had waited too long to see them make us think they were interested in playing a football game as it was. What a letdown for me and the Iowa fans who were far outnumbered by people clad in bright orange get-ups.
Jalen Hurd (16 carries for 122 yards, 2 TDs) finished the first Vol drive with a three-yard touchdown run. He finished the second with a 29-yard TD scamper. Next time UT had the ball, RB Marlin Lane threw 49-yard option pass to Vic Wharton for a 21-0 lead to end the first period.
To start the second, Vol QB and eventual game MVP Joshua Hobbs got into the act with an eight-yard run. He finished the day with16 of 21 passing for 129 yards and one TD to go along with 76 rushing yards and two TDs. Then low and without a hold, FB Mack Weisman tripped into the end zone by the nose of the football to put the Hawkeyes on the board. Dobbs threw a TD pass to Von Pearson for a 35-7 lead at intermission.
At halftime, I started to plan my move out to beat the traffic, but I held out as long as I could. I had no other plans then to have dinner, watch another game on TV, write down some notes about my four bowl game stories, and pack up for my trip back to NJ the next day. Of course, I really looked forward to spending the day in Nashville again on my way back and meeting up with HS classmate Paul Kleim and his wife Carolyn. Now Tennessee farmers, this Jersey boy was looking forward to meeting up with them to show them around Nashville before catching an evening flight back home. I could use a few Bloody Marys, some Apple Piehole, and beers along with some good old country and western (and we enjoyed them all. And more!).
Dobbs scored on an 11-yard run in the third for a 42-7 lead. The third period ended. I knew who was taking home the trophy in the first quarter. My season was ending on a whimper and not a bang. I was out of there. Tennessee won, 45-28. I heard all about it at the local Applebee’s that night. I had beaten the crowd in, but 20 minutes later, the bartender Bud and I and the waitresses were about the only ones not wearing Orange! There were a few humbled Hawkeye fans, too.
Congrats to Tennessee. But can your band please learn to play something other than “Rocky Top!”
I have to start planning now for September 3, 2015. What teams will be kicking off the season that Thursday night? Can I combine a trip to see a game on Friday and Saturday and maybe Monday, Labor Day? When will all the schedules be out? Next year is game #500 for me. Who? What? Where? When? Tickets? Got to plan a big tailgate for that one. So let the real fun begin – again!
Look for more stuff on the upcoming CFP game and beyond. We don’t stop talking college football because the games are done. Click here to hear us on Saturday morning with Pete Spadora on “Spadora on Sports!” on WNER in Watertown, NY. Time to be announced in a day or so.