The Volunteers beat the Georgia Bulldogs 34-31 off of a Joshua Dobbs Hail Mary pass in Athens. Is that the greatest play in Tennessee football history?
Tennessee football is no stranger to Hail Mary plays. The Vols had one against the Florida Gators in 2003…at halftime.
They are also no stranger to legendary plays in general. Many remember Condredge Holloway breaking every tackle against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in 1973, the interception in the end zone against the Alabama Crimson Tide in 1982, and the blocked field goal against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 1991. There’s also Casey Clausen’s 4th and 19 play against the Tide in 2003 and James Wilhoit redeeming himself with a 50-yard field goal against the Florida Gators in 2004.
Article continues below ...
And if you want some luck plays, Clint Stoerner’s along with Collins Cooper’s missed field goal fumble in 1998 are near the top.
Now Joshua Dobbs’s Hail Mary pass to Jauan Jennings against the Georgia Bulldogs to give the Vols a 34-31 win has to be up there.
But where does it rank?
There are a few things to take into account when ranking plays: the unlikelihood of the play, the magnitude of the game that it happened in, and what the play meant.
In two out of those three factors, this play is already the greatest in school history. As a 43-yard Hail Mary, this was clearly the most unlikely play that could have ever happened in Tennessee football history.
The fact that the Vols gave up a Hail Mary on the drive before only adds to that.
On top of the likelihood factor, the play secured the Vols a victory in the final second. That’s a huge deal.
Now we get to the magnitude. This win was on the road against the Georgia Bulldogs. Already, that’s a huge deal. But on top of that, this game moved the Vols to 5-0. And it moved them to 2-0 in the SEC, with both of their wins coming against the Florida Gators and the Bulldogs.
That puts them in complete control of the SEC East as they get set to take on the Texas A&M Aggies and the Alabama Crimson Tide. However, since this was a regular season win, there are two factors to magnitude.
The first is the importance of the game and the team you’re playing. But to determine where this play will go down in history, we have to look at what the Vols do with this win.
Will Tennessee win the SEC East, as they should? Could this secure them an SEC title? What about a spot in the College Football Playoff?
Heck, even a national championship is in the picture now.
This is automatically a Top Four play in Tennessee football history. Provided that the Vols finish the year in the Top 25 with at least 10 wins, which should be a guarantee, people will talk about this one for a long time.
However, at this point, Tee Martin’s touchdown pass to Peerless Price in the 1998 national championship game is still more important right now due to the magnitude. The Stumble and Fumble and the missed field goal of 1998 are also strong competitors.
If Tennessee wins the SEC East, though, this becomes one of the two greatest plays in school history. And if the Vols win the national title, it becomes the greatest.
Of course, that’s under the assumption that no other crazy plays like this will happen this year. But already, this play is in the conversation for the greatest in school history.
And in the moment, it already is the greatest in school history.