No. 18 Tennessee hasn’t gotten off to a great start against South Carolina, a team the Vols were favored to beat by two touchdowns.
Mostly, the Vols have been shooting themselves in the foot. But coach Butch Jones has a possibly legitimate gripe with the officials on at least one of the Vols’ mistakes.
Tennessee punter Trevor Daniel booted a punt that landed on the South Carolina 1-yard line. It appeared as though one of the best punts of the college football season had occurred before our very eyes. But, as Lee Corso would say, not so fast!
Cortez McDowell, it was ruled, picked up the ball and carried it into the end zone, resulting in a touchback — rather than it being a dead ball at the 1-yard line. Jones wasn’t thrilled.
Butch Jones MAD. pic.twitter.com/TVIwp7Q4Jr
— Jesse Re Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) October 30, 2016
They even went under the hood to make sure they got the call correct. And they still came to the same conclusion.
Ruling is confirmed? How.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) October 30, 2016
Just earlier in the half, Tennessee botched another special teams play — this time with no assistance from the officiating crew. Gamecocks punter Sean Kelly sent a high, short kick that was poised to give the Vols great field position — near the 50. Instead, a Tennessee player ran into the ball, kicking it back another 20 or so yards before the Vols finally fell on it.
In all, poor special teams play has cost Tennessee at least 40 yards of field position. Really, not much else is going right, either, as the Vols trail South Carolina in a sloppy 14-7 affair at the half.
How did Tennessee just ruin the most beautiful punt I've ever seen
— BUFFALO CHILL CODY (@edsbs) October 30, 2016
Tennessee just messed up what may have been the most beautiful punt I've ever seen. Gamecocks will have the ball at their own 25
— Capital City Sports (@CCSonSGTV) October 30, 2016
That guy for Tennessee just ruined the best punt I've ever seen.
— Zach Carper (@Carpernicus_2) October 30, 2016