KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee has specialized in second-half rallies over the first month of the season.
The No. 11 Volunteers are 4-0 for the first time since 2003, erasing three double-digit leads including Saturday’s stunning comeback against Florida.
Down 21-0, Tennessee scored 38 straight points en route to a wild 38-28 win over UF.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity this season, and we’ve created a lot of adversity for ourselves,” head coach Butch Jones said during Wednesday’s weekly SEC Teleconference.
“We have not played our best football yet. We’ve not played 60 minutes of football yet, but this team has stayed together and they’ve stayed the course. You don’t do that if you don’t have great character in your football program. Our players believe. They believe now that they’re going to make a play to change the game.”
A year after struggling to finish games, Tennessee’s newfound conditioning and veteran experience is proving to be the difference. The Vols have outscored foes 87-24 after halftime this season.
On Wednesday, Jones was asked his “drink of choice” at halftime this season: “Maalox or Moonshine?”
Tennessee’s coach chuckled, and said, “All the above, but we talk about being mature and individuals hanging together. … When we spoke in the locker room at halftime there was no panic.”
The Vols comeback Saturday was the largest second-half rally ever in Neyland Stadium, ending 11 years of futility with history.
“Our players love to compete,” Jones said.
“They have not flinched, which has been a great thing to see.”