Once again, Tennessee valiantly rallied from a double-digit deficit after halftime, but for the first time all season, the Volunteers ran out of pixie dust.
The No. 8 Texas A&M Aggies survived a double-overtime thriller, knocking off No. 9 Tennessee 45-38 in College Station.
The Volunteers (5-1, 2-1 SEC) were down 21 points at halftime, but another second-half surge nearly kept their storybook season alive. They were able to overcome 7 turnovers, a slew of injures and 12 penalties before Josh Dobbs’ game-sealing interception in the second overtime.
Here’s what head coach Butch Jones had to say after the gun-wrenching defeat.
* “Besides the fumbles, what can I say about Alvin (Kamara)?”
* “We talk about Maxim 1 all the time and we know this was Maxim 1 game.”
* “We had some role players step up and provide some valuable reps, but we need more of those individuals”
* “This is a resilient group. They never crack. They never waver. … We didn’t flinch. I love our players and I love our football team. … The spirit that we showed tonight. The fight. There’s not a lot of teams who could overcome 7 turnovers and all the penalties.” … Cites Malik Foreman’s hustle play.
“That was a character play. … (Foreman) could’ve given up but he didn’t.” … Said the play was “a byproduct of how” Tennessee practices.
* “This team has been flatline. … Never too high, never too low. We’ll get back to work. Now we have Alabama coming in. … We have to get better in a hurry because we have the No. 1 team coming into town next week.”
* “They’re very, very disappointed but we’ll get back to work. Alabama is next. That’s life in the SEC.”
* Jones on turnovers: “I’m dumbfounded. We have to get it corrected.” Says Tennessee spends a ton of practice time on ball-security drills.
* “I don’t remember a game like this in 30 years of coaching.”
* Jones says he will not address any injuries (period) the rest of the season. So no updates on Danny O’Brien or anyone else. “From here on out there will be no more talk of injuries.”