As a way to help alleviate traffic before and after Tennessee football games, the so-called “Vol Navy” was created in the early sixties and has become a “sailgating” tradition along the Tennessee River. Saturday morning, however, a Vol Navy boat caught fire during the pregame festivities and sank.
You want to talk about an omen?
Tennessee entered Saturday afternoon’s game against Georgia State, predicted to finish dead last in the Sun Belt Conference and losers of seven straight, as 26-point favorites. After 60 minutes of playing time, the Panthers exited Neyland Stadium with the biggest win in program history, a stunning 38-30 triumph over a Vols team that looked underwhelming in nearly every phase as Year 2 of the Jeremy Pruitt Era in Knoxville stumbled to a start.
The win marked the first-ever for Georgia State over a school from the Power Five. Conversely, this was Tennessee’s first loss to a Group of Five team since Wyoming did the honors in 2008. This was also the Vols first loss in a home opener since 1983.
The Vols took a 14-7 lead into the second quarter, but could manage nothing more than a trio of field goals the rest of the way, outside of a garbage touchdown with the game out of reach. Despite that offensive ineptness, UT still held a 23-21 lead with less than nine minutes left in the fourth quarter before GSU scored 17 unanswered points to put the game away.
Suffice to say, it was not the way Pruitt wanted to begin a season in which they were coming of five wins the year before.