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Tennessee snuffs out Georgia Tech 2-point conversion to win double-OT thriller

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Week 1’s last game was one of its best.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Georgia Tech John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

No. 25 Tennessee snuffed out a two-point conversion attempt by Georgia Tech in double overtime of their game on Monday in Atlanta, capping a 42-41 comeback victory. An option pitch play didn’t work out, and Tennessee held on.

The idea was that Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall could pitch the ball to a trailing running back. If Marshall had done that, I think there’s a decent chance Tech would’ve scored. But he tried to plunge in for the win himself, and he met a lot of resistance at the line of scrimmage. He tried to fling a pitch to a trailing back, but that ball was ruled a forward pass and whistled dead, ending the game.

Tennessee blocked a 36-yard field goal as regulation expired, pushing the game to overtime. Tech kicker Shawn Davis lined a low kick that met a wall of Tennessee resistance. It was a dramatic way to prolong college football’s Week 1 for just a little bit longer. And in overtime, the Vols made sure it didn’t happen for nothing.

That Tennessee was even in a position to force overtime is somewhat stunning. The Vols had the ball for 20 of 60 regulation minutes, as Georgia Tech hammered away with its flexbone option running game and occasionally hit on huge passing plays. The Jackets out-gained the Vols, 655 yards to 369. And in the end, it didn’t even matter.

This was an excellent game. Other things that happened during it:

  • A Tech player got tackled into a marimba. Really, hear me out.
  • Tech QB Marshall was a wizard all night, with 44 runs for 249 yards. He had one cutback that was especially mean, and another great juke or two.
  • Tennessee has a dang trashcan to dunk turnover balls into. One guy missed:

That’s a fine effort. It’s not even the player’s fault, honestly. The support staffer who held up the can didn’t do enough to support his body weight, and the player had nothing to do but tumble to the ground. Great idea, just tough execution here.

  • Tech had 535 rushing yards. That led the country in Week 1, only ahead of another triple-option team: Army at 513.
  • And Tennessee somehow won the game. What a world.