However, 1998 was different. “I didn’t think we could be what we were with Peyton and I was right,” former UT offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe said. You can enter to win this prize pack for free by sending us a picture of your Saturday homegating setup. Like the Vols, the Razorbacks were undefeated and hoping for a shot at an SEC and national title. Cutcliffe knew he couldn’t be in both places at once, so he decided to leave UT and take on the Ole Miss challenge. Martin was never in the hunt for Heisman Trophy like Manning, nor was Martin ever considered to be the first overall pick in the NFL Draft like Manning. Suddenly, the Vols had the ball in Arkansas territory with time to mount a more conventional drive. 7. Tennessee entered their 3rd game in the 1998 SEC season as underdogs. Is Coach David Cutcliffe on the Hot Seat? Surely, Tee Martin’s 79-yard touchdown pass to Peerless Price is emblazoned in your mind. “Not only is he the first guy, but he’s on the phone calling guys, ‘Get your butt over here. That was a caused fumble. The Vols’ final two games of the 1997 season set the tone for the Vols’ run at perfection the following year. “The reason why I chose to come (to UT) was to compete with who at the time I felt was the best college quarterback,” Martin said of Manning. Ratliff pounced on the ball. Leaverton had that uneasy feeling again. “Tee Martin did a helluva job running the offense and making plays, but he wasn’t Peyton Manning. They either played Cover 2 or they played man-to-man on those situations. “It ended up a big play but there were a lot of plays that we made and didn’t make in that game. 13. If we can make it tough on them in practice, then it should be alot easier for them on Saturday.”. One of the most unusual aspects of the Arkansas fumble is that Ratliff shouldn’t have been in the game at all. We needed to get stronger. Each week, we are giving away an ultimate homegating kit by Texas Pete. “I tell people all the time that if I was still in the game when that happened, we probably would have lost because I just didn’t have it in the tank right then,” Coleman said. 17 Syracuse and a daunting SEC schedule ahead. That shocked us. The Vols barely missed a beat with Henry in the lineup. Fulmer said the Vols had to make adjustments on the offensive line, figure out how to handle the rotation of a talented group of tailbacks and replace two receivers that were selected in the NFL Draft. “We were talking about how we were going to have to play better than the offense every game simply because we had a new quarterback,” Wilson said. It was a slap in our face because we had been chomping at the bit waiting on our chance to get an opportunity to show what we could do. We had already made a commitment to our offensive line and our backs. Arkansas was nursing a 24–22 lead late in the game and was attempting to run out the clock. The 1998 Vols were used to that from previous seasons. 9. We’ve uncovered a history that we didn’t know existed.”. Kicker Jeff Hall kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired to steal a victory, 34-33. Thanks to losses by the nation’s other two undefeated teams, UCLA and Kansas State, the Vols were assured a chance to win a national title. The Vols won the national title with a 23-16 win over the Seminoles and finished the season undefeated. Even while accepting all blame, the burden was incredible to bear. It was about being a consistent performer.”. Tennessee showed a maturity in that run of games since Georgia that no one would have expected with a team that lost so many leaders from the previous year. The Volunteers were given a preseason ranking of #10 in the AP Poll. After the short break, Warrick took Burden’s place. 5. Florida responded with a 70-yard strike from Jesse Palmer to Travis McGriff on 3rd-and-long. The Vols racked up 447 total yards, led by the rushing of Travis Henry and the passing of Tee Martin. With Tennessee ahead 31-27, Syracuse embarked on two scoring drives that ended in a pair of field goals to take a 33-31 lead with just under three minutes left in the game. The Vols also held the Gators to −13 net rushing on 30 attempts. The '98 Vols beat eight bowl teams, including six January bowl teams, four top ten teams, and three BCS bowl-bound teams. 3. The Vols jumped out to an early lead behind the running of Jamal Lewis. Stoerner seemingly placed the ball on the ground as he tried to balance himself. That camaraderie and that chemistry was what helped through all of that.”. We took it very seriously to go out and compete with them because at the end of the day, if they can move the ball on us, they can move the ball on anybody in the country. … I told them all and pointed out a few of them. Goodrich and White graduated from UT following the spring semester in 2014. Cooper comes out and I’m thinking, ‘He’s going to make this kick and we’re going to into a second overtime. RT: Jarvis Reado 1998: Reado would have been the starting left tackle on most other teams had the Vols not had Clifton. Like his fellow linemen, he was key in opening running holes for UT’s talented corpe of running backs. Cutcliffe decided to do just that. That game will always go down as one of the most amazing I have seen. The emotions were strong. The 1998 team took Manning’s vision to another level. What are the coaches really thinking? Wilson’s son is cured and doing well: Wilson’s son was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was 15-years-old. SEC and National Championship rings for the 1998 Tennessee Vols. Who else was coaching on the 1998 Tennessee team? DT Billy Ratliff pushed Arkansas G Brandon Burlsworth into QB Clint Stoerner, causing him to stumble and fumble. We knew we were going to have to go out and make plays on our side of the ball. That proved more difficult than many expected. Obviously there are emotional swings with sports and so the mathematical ratings do not always line up with the emotional expectations from a team. After: Hall is currently a financial advisor in Knoxville, according to his LinkedIn account. Goodrich, in a recent interview with SDS, said the defense knew what it had to do. The Vols had every goal left to play for and it looked like it the next time they took the field. Even though we lost so many great players going into the ’98 season, we still knew that we had a helluva football team. John Ward said, “Pandemonium Reigns” as the fans rushed the field. Who else was coaching on the 1998 Clemson team? They were winning the whole game, really. Brandon was Brandon Burlsworth, an All-American offensive guard who began his career at Arkansas as a walk-on and was known for his thick, black glasses. The Vols had to change philosophies completely. Peerless Price added 181 yards receiving and a touchdown. After his career, he moved back to Florida. 4. You know the person. Then the unbelievable happened. He also ran for 107 yards. After: Wilson is currently an investor in small businesses and lives in Atlanta. It was one of those mindsets that we’re not going to lose four in a row.”. University of Tennessee Athletics ... 2020 Football Coaching Staff. It appeared Donovan McNabb and Syracuse had won the game when Martin’s pass to Cedrick Wilson fell incomplete on 4th-and-7. Whenever leadership was brought up in team meetings, Wilson felt head coach Phillip Fulmer’s message was meant for one man. 12. “We knew the history, we knew what it was,” Hall said. He had fresh legs and blew up the play.”. “That spring I started to wonder if we’d ever make a first down, but we did not back off.”. “He was a tailback and moved to fullback willingly.”. In 1996, Florida watched a 35-0 lead nearly slip away in a downpour, as Manning’s comeback attempt fell short in a 35-29 decision. … That particular game showed us that we had some work to do. Skip To Main Content. Jamal Lewis ran for a 67 yards and a touchdown on his first carry. Ellis intercepted a shovel pass and rambled 90 yards for a touchdown. The 1998 Tennessee Volunteers are ranked as the #3 college football team of all time by the Billingsley Report computer ratings. Tennessee’s 1998 national championship team took part in some of the most iconic games in UT’s storied history. This time, the Vols Offense relied on Travis Henry who rushed for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. Al Wilson was known for his leadership in 1998. Ole Miss asked him to coach in the Independence Bowl against Texas Tech. After that Week 2 victory, it seemed as if Knoxville held its collective breath for the rest of the season. We lived with it.”. Building a passing game was indeed a struggle. Here are the 13 most memorable moments that helped the Vols to a perfect record and the first Bowl Championship Series national title: 13. Martin was not afraid — even after Manning shocked the college football world with his decision to return for his senior season in 1997. WR: Peerless Price 1998: Price was the deep threat that the Vols needed to keep defenses honest in 1998. Leaverton and his wife started a non-profit organization called Undivided Nation. The 1998 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1998 NCAA Division I-A football season. The fiery middle linebacker wasn’t going to let that one slide by. “I had no idea what was about to happen,” Hall said. We’re going to call you out if you’re not doing it. By. We felt good about Peerless. “The only white people around here in Savannah who will even talk to me are guilty liberals,” Leaverton recalled the man saying. The Vols beat Auburn 17-9, but it was far from a perfect day. Tee had a lot of confidence in it. Junior QB Tee Martin had his coming-out party against the Houston Cougars, throwing for 4 touchdowns and 234 yards en route to the Vols win. Warrick weaved through UT’s usually solid punt coverage team in the middle of the field. It’s hard not to imagine what kind of player Ratliff would have been had he not been injured so often.
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