For the second straight week, the Tennessee faithful are going home from Neyland Stadium after watching their team lose at home to an underdog. BYU (1-1) stunned Tennessee (0-2) with a late fourth quarter rally and a double overtime victory. The BYU 29-26 win came with a solid push on the line of scrimmage to push Tyson Williams across the goal line.
With under a minute to play, BYU was stuck in a 3rd and long. That’s when Zach Wilson found a streaking Micah Simon for a 64-yard gain to move the Cougars into scoring position out of seemingly nowhere. The big play led to a game-tying field goal by Jake Oldroyd to tie the game at 16-16 with one second remaining.
BYU struck first in overtime with the offense seizing the moment. Wilson went to the air to Talon Shumway from 14 yards out to give BYU its first lead of the game. But the BYU defense was unable to hold off the Vols for the win in the first overtime. Jarrett Guarantano found his go-to receiver, Jauan Jennings, for a 13-yard strike to force a second overtime. BYU’s defense stood up in the second overtime to hold Tennessee to a 40-yard field goal by Brent Cimaglia.
The Vols and Cougars each struggled to move the sticks on third down as the defenses ruled the night. While the passing production was fairly even between Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano and BYU’s Wilson, the difference in the game was found on the ground. Tennessee rushed for over 200 yards as a team while BYU had trouble getting much room on the ground. It was a suggestion that Tennessee had the edge on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football, an area they couldn’t create such an advantage last week against Georgia State. But that advantage was nullified once the Cougars made the big pass play at the end of the fourth quarter, as BYU was able to hold their own in the overtimes.
The last time Tennessee started a season 0-2 was 1988, when the Vols dropped games at Georgia and home against Duke before going 5-6 for the year. The last time the Vols dropped two games at home to begin the season was 1980, with home losses against Georgia and USC by a combined total of four points.
BYU will look to make it two in a row next week when they host USC next Saturday. The Trojans, with a backup quarterback, will be coming off a home game against a physical Stanford team.
Tennessee will play one more non-conference game before jumping into SEC play. Next week, the Vols host Chattanooga, an FCS opponent, before they get ready for a trip to Gainesville to play rival Florida. The odds Tennessee enters SEC play 0-3 are very slim, but at this point, nothing should be guaranteed.