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The Tennessee Volunteers got the ball first in the second overtime period, having scored with relative ease in the first round. Freshman quarterback Tyler Bray, who'd made something of a national debut by completing bombs and lasers and all sorts of other weapon-related cliches all night long, set up to take a shot at the end zone after a Gerald Jones run gave the Vols a first down.
The pass was picked off by Quan Sturdivant, who'd given up a big pass earlier in the game. The Heels would need only a field goal to take the game.
Shaun Draughn nearly got them more than that, breaking the next play 16 yards up the sideline before finally being stopped. He drove to the Tennessee six on the next play, and Butch Davis elected to kick on second down. Casey Barth put it into the net, and one of the zaniest bowl games in recent memory ended.
The Tar Heels gained a moment of joy at the end of one of the nation's most disappointing campaigns, but for Tennessee this has to feel like a horrible flashback to the end of their game against LSU, when victory had been declared before being taken away. It's terrible when things like this happen to any team, but even worse when it happens over and over.
Actually, UNC lost a gut-punch heartbreaker to LSU too, so I guess one of Les Miles' victims had to win. Still, if what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, these Vols are going to be titanium upperclassmen.
That roughing the kicker penalty the Tennessee Volunteers were hit with during the last play in regulation cost them, as the North Carolina Tar Heels only needed to travel 12 yards to put serious pressure on the Vols. A seven-yard pass to Ryan Taylor, and a personal foul penalty on [SOME VOL, I don’t know, seriously trap has gone entirely ham], and a couple Shaun Draughn runs later, and T.J. Yates was in position to bull into the end zone.
The Vols responded with a five-yard rush by Tauren Poole, then a 20-yard missile from Tyler Bray to Luke Stocker. Stocker went up and made a nice fingertip grab. The Vols have already missed one extra point, so the tying kick was nerve-wracking, but Daniel Lincoln was able to keep us moving.
The Vols have already secured a first down in the second period of overtime.
The end of regulation at the Music City Bowl may have been the wildest finish of the entire season, and the game's not over yet. After Tennessee scored, the North Carolina Tar Heels nearly converted a fourth-and-20, but Dwight Jones dropped the pass on the other side of the line. The Vols ran some clock then punted back.
Heels QB T.J. Yates fired a 28-yard pass to WR Todd Harrelson that was extended another 15 by an incredible spine-to-spine spear by CB Janzen Jackson. Sort of looks like something out of Mortal Kombat, or maybe in one of those Grant Theft Autos where bodies are flopping off of rails and balconies:
Yates then completed a dart to Jones for another first down and clocked it. For some reason they decided to hand off to Shaun Draughn with 16 seconds left. He failed to get the first down. UNC's field goal team took the field while the offense tried to figure out whether to spike the ball again. With about 19 or 37 players on the field, including two herds of offensive linemen, Yates spiked the ball.
Referees ruled the game over, and Vols players began to storm the field.
O, Derek Dooley.
After review, officials ruled there was one second left. A five-yard penalty was assessed for having 68 players on the field, and Casey Barth booted the tying kick as time expired. The Vols were also hit with a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, apparently for roughing the kicker, which will be assessed in overtime. Wow.
Tennessee Volunteers QB Tyler Bray led his squad on a 10-play, 63-yard, man’s-man of a drive, finding fellow freshman Justin Hunter for an eight-yard touchdown to put the Vols on top. But kicker Daniel Lincoln missed the extra point, which seems to happen in like every game this year, and now the North Carolina Tar Heels have a chance to tie or take the lead with five minutes left.
Some of these young Vols are going to be really, really good within the next two or three years. Bray’s already looking like the real deal against an admittedly depleted Heels defense. He has 281 yards and three touchdowns.
Heels QB T.J. Yates has cooled in the second half, but it was after a clutch Vols scoring drive near the end of the first half that he did his finest work of the game so far. If he’s got a repeat performance in him, this one will come down to the wire.
Tennessee Volunteers QB Tyler Bray’s bony arm is like a jai alai stick. Though his listed weight of 193 pounds sounds a little ambitious, the freshman is sending cannonshots downfield on snap after snap, and it’s inevitable that some of these things are going to have to land in Vol hands.
Bray has thrown two picks, but he’s also thrown two deep touchdowns, the most recent of which went 45 yards, over the cloud line, and into Daniel Lincoln’s hands to give the Vols a brief lead.
North Carolina Tar Heels QB T.J. Yates, a senior that the announcers cannot stop describing as “grizzled,” responded with a quick and efficient touchdown drive of his own. His 39-yard scoring strike found Erik Highsmith to put the Heels on top at the half.
All of that happened in the final minute-and-a-half, by the way.
Yates is getting help from his running game, with RB Shaun Draughn posting 93 yards and a touchdown, while Bray isn’t. The Vols have all of 17 yards on the ground.
North Carolina Tar Heels DB Deunta Williams suffered a grisly leg injury in the first quarter of tonight’s Music City Bowl. He needed to be carted off with a soft cast on his right leg, and appears to have broken … well, something. He sat up in the cart on his way out, though he appeared to be in significant pain.
The loss of Williams hurt the Heels immediately, as Tennessee Volunteers QB Tyler Bray found a very wide open Gerald Jones for a 29-yard touchdown shortly after. Williams has been projected as a first- or second-round NFL Draft talent. You could put together a bowl-winning team with all the talent these two teams have lost this season, and Williams is among the biggest losses.
UNC gets the ball back having outgained the Vols thus far, with just a few seconds left in the first quarter. Bray has thrown for 60 yards on 12 attempts, while Carolina QB T.J. Yates has just one incompletion in six attempts.
North Carolina Tar Heels RB Shaun Draughn broke a 58-yard run up the left sideline to give UNC a 7-0 lead over the Tennessee Volunteers, and the Music City Bowl is on its way. The Heels drove 72 yards in just three plays, each of them successes in their own ways.
The Vols gained a first down on the game-opening drive, but stalled after a false start penalty. On their post-touchdown effort, QB Tyler Bray threw an interception to Kendric Burney, which Burney kindly fumbled back to TE Luke Stocker.
Bray has thrown five incompletions, including that pick, in his seven attempts. Carolina QB T.J. Yates is a nice and tidy one of one for 10 yards, however. The Vols running game has largely sputtered so far, and Tennessee has just punted the ball back to the Heels.
Need last minute gambling advice during the 2010 college football bowl season? We've got you covered. With plenty of action on Thursday, the time to blow money on meaningless exhibition games is now. The Music City Bowl features Tennessee and North Carolina in what appears to be, on paper at least, an even match-up. Let's get ready to bet!
The line: Pretty much a pick-em. North Carolina is favored by a point.
Notable North Carolina units: The Tarheels bring the 25th ranked passing attack into the Music City Bowl. Rushing is nearly non-existent, so expect to see North Carolina air it out against Tennessee.
Notable Tennessee units: About the only thing Tennessee does is pass. The Vols boast the 43rd-ranked passing attack in the nation in 2010.
The pick: Pick-ems are a nightmare. On paper, these teams are about as even as they get during bowl season. We'll take a stab in the dark while flipping a coin and choose Tennessee to carry the momentum of the regular season into the Music City Bowl.
While the 2010 Tennessee Volunteers football season may have been a disappointment for fans, two players are still looking to make the Music City a meaningful game for their chances in the NFL draft. Senior tight end Luke Stocker and senior wide receiver Denarius Moore are both slated to be picked up in this spring's NFL draft. Stocker, a 6'6" 250 lb tight end is graded as one of the best tight ends available in this coming draft, and both CBS Sports and SB Nation's Mocking the Draft predict Stocker to be taken in the third round. The tall Stocker is an effective threat as a receiving tight end, as he caught 34 passes for 359 yards and touchdown this season, his size and speed should make him appealing to prospective NFL teams.
Denarius Moore, at 6'1" and 194 lbs. has also had a productive year at receiver, catching 43 passes for 912 yards and nine touchdowns, if he has a particularly outstanding game in the Music City Bowl, he could rack up over 1000 yards receiving in for the first time in his career. Moore is predicted to be either a sixth or seventh round draft pick.
There will be no shortage of possible future NFL players wearing Carolina blue in Thursday night's Music City Bowl, and leading the way is 6'5" 250 lb Robert Quinn, who is projected by SB Nation's Mocking the Draft to go as high as ninth overall pick in the first round. But the explosive play making skills on the North Carolina defense do not end with Quinn, senior linebacker Bruce Carter is projected to go early in the second round and senior defensive tackle Marvin Austin is rated as the third best at his position by CBS sports and is slated to go not later than the second round himself.
The Tarheel defense all together has seven players who could end up being selected in this spring's draft, and the going up against Tennessee's offense should be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate their speed and skills. Free safety Deunta Williams was named first team All ACC and will likely be picked up in the third round. Linebacker Quan Sturdivant was named first team All ACC in 2009 and is also a likely third round pick up. Defensive end Quinton Coples, should he decide to jump early for the draft, would be a fourth round pick, and corner back Kendric Burney, yet another All ACC player, will likely be a late round draft pick.
On offense as well, North Carolina has some draftable players looking to improve their chances with scouts. Wide receiver Greg Little has been productive for the Tar Heels this year and could be a third or fourth round pick, while team mate Zach Pinalto could be picked up in the later rounds.
The Music City Bowl kicks off tonight at 6:40 on ESPN.
The Music City Bowl features two quarterbacks on the upswing that can create nightmare match-ups for opposing defenses. Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray took the starting job from Matt Simms with four weeks to go in the regular season, finishing strong and improving every game. On the other side of the ball, T.J. Yates is one of the best in the nation and can carve a defense up at a moments notice.
Offense. QB T.J. Yates is what we call the Real Deal, 19th in the nation in passing and 29th in total offense. His favorite target appears to be Dwight Jones, who averages nearly 75 yards per game and ranks 39th in the nation. RB Johnny White is fine, adding 80 rushing yards to the mix and ranking in the top half of the country, but it's Yates who makes this thing go.
At SB Nation's North Carolina blog, Carolina March, the improvement of Tyler Bray, and the Tennessee passing game, is cause for concern, as well. One positive for the Tarheels, however, is the Tennessee offensive line's inability to protect the quarterback.
The Volunteers are more dangerous through the air, which is worrisome. They were fourth in the SEC in passing offense and have seven different players with touchdown receptions. UNC's been weak against the long pass, especially when the opposing quarterback has time to throw, as Virginia Tech ably demonstrated. The good news is Tennessee's offensive line won't buy quarterback Tyler Bray much time; they're the most sacked team in their conference.
Bray and Yates take the field in the Music City Bowl on Thursday at 6:40 p.m. EST.
Stay tuned to this StoryStream right up through game time, as we review key unit matchups, odds, bowl history and more, and connect with North Carolina fans at SB Nation's Carolina March and Tennessee fans at Rocky Top Talk. For a complete list of bowl games, browse our 2010 college football postseason schedule.
To help prime you for Thursday's college football quadrupleheader, we've compiled this handy list of fun factoids concerning the 2010 Music City Bowl.
Proper name: The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, which is not to be taken as an indictment of Nashville's terrible urban sprawl problem. Really.
Setting: LP Field in Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans.
Traditional conference pairing: ACC versus SEC
2010 matchup: The 7-5 North Carolina Har Heels and the 6-6 Tennessee Volunteers
Announcers: The Vols and 'Heels and their fans will pay in buckets of tears for recent program sins by being subjected to the dulcet tones of Bob Davie, with Mark Jones and Cara Capuano trying futilely to class up the joint.
Neatest fact: Despite being named "Music City," Nashville has not produced a listenable album in decades.
Closest finish: The depressing 2008 iteration saw the hometown Vanderbilt Commodores edge Boston College, 16-14.
Most lopsided finish: Virginia Tech walloped Alabama, 38-7, in the 1998 inaugural matchup.
Tidbits of interest: Former Music City Bowl MVPs include Jason Campbell, Marion Barber, and C.J. Spiller. Ever genteel, the Nashville organizers hosted a special "Wives & Daughters Tour" for the accompanying ladies this week, in which no major injuries or deaths were reported. Though the Tennessee team will make a mere 5-hour round trip from Knoxville to Nashville, this will mark the Vols' first trip to the Music City Bowl.
Other than the Texas Longhorns, it's hard to think of too many football programs that had more deflating 2010 seasons than Music City Bowl participants Tennessee and North Carolina. The 6-6 Volunteers watched trollcoach leave in the middle of the night and talent sap from the depth chart, while the 7-5 Tar Heels were relieved of an assortment of talent that several NFL teams would be thrilled to claim as a draft class.
Quarterback play has been a bright spot for both teams. Senior Carolina QB T.J. Yates, thought to be the team's square wheel back when the Heels were being picked to win the ACC Coastal, turned in the conference's second-best passer rating to everyone's befuddlement. If not for a four-interception flashback against Virginia Tech, he would've tied for second in the nation in fewest picks.
And it took the Vols a few weeks to find their quarterback, but freshman Tyler Bray looks to be the future for Tennessee. In his last four starts, all wins in games the Vols needed to become bowl eligible, Bray piled up 1,234 yards, a pace that would've put him fourth in the nation if he could've done it for an entire year.
Granted it came against foes several notches below Tennessee's standard competition, but it will be interesting to see what he can do against what's left of the once-loaded UNC defense.
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