Tennessee vs. LSU: The Biggest Upset That Never Happened

James BrownSenior Analyst IOctober 3, 2010

The Tennessee Volunteers traveled into Baton Rouge to play the LSU Tigers and the outcome was a foregone conclusion. The 2-2 Vols had no shot of winning in LSU against an undefeated, top-ranked team. In fact BetMania and other sportsbooks had the Tigers as 17-point favorites. Not only was LSU expected to win, but they were expected to win big.

When quarterback Jordan Jefferson broke a run on the first play of the game for 83 yards and a touchdown to put the Tigers up 7-0, it looked like it was going to be a long day for the Tennessee Volunteers. Then a funny thing happened: the Tigers did not pull away, and the Volunteers did not give up.

After a missed field goal, quarterback Matt Simms led the Vols on a drive that started on their own 37-yard line. The drive ended with a one-yard touchdown plunge by Tauren Poole to knot the game at seven. Both sides played credible defense and at halftime the game was tied. The next half would decide the game and no one could predict how it would end.

The game stayed scoreless after three quarters and would lead to a very exciting and confusing fourth quarter.  Josh Jasper kicked a 31-yard field goal to give the Tigers a three-point lead early in the fourth and the Vols responded with a Matt Simms three-yard touchdown that put the Vols up 14-10. The score would stand until the final seconds of the game.

With 5:41 in the game LSU got the ball on their 31-yard line and started the final drive of the game. The Tigers drove the ball down the field and had to overcome a few obstacles, like converting a 4th-and-15 to keep the drive alive.

The Tigers needed a touchdown to win; a field goal would not do anything for them. Things looked great for the home team until the Vols committed a penalty that gave the Tigers the ball on the two-yard line, almost giving away the game. All they needed was two yards to win the game and send the crowd home happy.

With seconds to go in the game, LSU coach Les Miles brought in Jordan Jefferson to play quarterback. Miles had been rotating Jefferson and Jarrett Lee throughout the ball game, and bringing in Jefferson was an interesting call to say the least. Jefferson was welcomed with a smattering of boos from the crowd and on the next play he rushed the ball for one yard; the Tigers were one yard away from the win.

What happened next was unbelievable.

It can only be described as mayhem on the field when all the players began to scramble on both sides of the ball. Players from both teams were coming on and off the field trying to substitute but with little time remaining the coaches seemed to lose control, and the players looked confused. Finally the ball was snapped and zipped by an unsuspecting Jefferson and both teams dove on the ball. LSU did not score, the game was over and the Vols pulled off one of the biggest upsets in college football. Or did they?

As Tennessee players cheered celebrated and LSU fans sobbed and screamed in disbelief, many people did not notice a yellow flag on the ground. The referees had called a penalty. Among the confusion the Volunteers had too many defenders on the field and that gave LSU the ball back and one more shot at the win.

On the next play Stevan Ridley rushed to the left for a one-yard gain and the game-winning score. LSU won the game 16-14. LSU fans rejoiced as Volunteer fans sat stunned over the outcome of this game.

In one of the most exciting games of the year, LSU stole a victory at home. They gave the ball away four times, failed to execute, and had nine penalties. Yet when the game was over they had the victory and that is all that matters.

For the Tennessee Volunteers they played a decent game, but came up just short. They should be commended for the game play on this day and the future looks bright for Tennessee football. For now this will be one of the greatest upsets that never happened.

Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews, and predictions. Feel Free to contact Matt at mregaw@gmail.com