We said at the half Tennessee looked like a program worthy of all its offseason hype. In the second, it looked like the program that’s 1-for-a lot against ranked teams lately. In the end, the 23rd-ranked Vols blew a 14-point second half lead to fall 31-24 to No. 19 Oklahoma in double overtime.
Tennessee led 17-3 at the break and the score remained that way through the third quarter (though the Sooners would argue defensive back Steven Parker was robbed a scoop-and-score by the Big 12 officiating crew). In fact, Oklahoma did not reach in Tennessee territory until the 11:29 mark of the fourth quarter. But the Sooners successfully eschewed offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley‘s Air Raid scheme for a whatever-the-heck-works attack, marching 80 yards in 14 plays and 5:53 to pull within 17-10 with 8:20 to go – capped by a Mayfield pass to Samaje Perine – and then moved 60 yards in 13 snaps and 5:26, this time using a five-yard toss from Mayfield to Sterling Shepard to tie the game with 40 seconds left in regulation.
In all, regulation closed with Oklahoma gaining 140 yards in 27 plays to Tennessee’s one yard in four plays.
That sluggish finish, however, did not stop Tennessee from starting overtime with a crisp five-play touchdown drive, as a seven-yard Hurd run marked the Vols’ first points since the 12:14 mark of the second quarter.
Oklahoma responded in the bottom of the first, and in heart-stopping fashion. After Mayfield hit Shepard for 19 yards on OU’s first snap, the Sooners moved one, then zero, then four, and then one yard as Mayfield kept on a 4th-and-goal from the one to push the game into double overtime.
The Sooners then opened the second overtime by scoring again, an 18-yard catch-and-juke from Mayfield to Shepard. Dobbs was intercepted by Zack Sanchez in the bottom of the second overtime, clinching the biggest comeback by a visitor in Neyland Stadium history.
Mayfield rebounded from a rough start to finish with a better-than-it-looks-on-paper stat line of 19-of-39 passing for 187 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, plus 14 carries for 46 yards and a score. Perine rushed for 78 yards on 23 carries, and Shepard came up with every big play necessary, hauling in seven grabs for 74 yards and both of Mayfield’s scores.
Dobbs completed on 13 of his 31 throws for 125 yards with a touchdown and that game-ending interception, plus 12 rushing yards and a touchdown. Hurd carried 24 times for 106 yards and a score.
The loss drops Butch Jones to 13-2 at Tennessee when leading at the half.
Oklahoma (2-0) sweeps the home-and-home with Tennessee and beats an SEC team for the third straight season. Tennessee (1-1) spends yet another week wondering at what point the Vols will finally break through.