An old tradition fueled what may be a new wave in the Tennessee-Alabama series.
The Vols beat the Crimson Tide 52-49 on Saturday and – as tradition mandated – the winner partook in smoking victory cigars. The cigar smoking tradition dates back to 1961, but it was last season’s rendition of the tradition that had the biggest impact on Tennessee’s win on Saturday night.
“Last year, I remember we played Bama and it was the fourth quarter and there were three or four minutes left and you can already smell the smoke,” Tennessee receiver Jalin Hyatt said. “They lit it before we even ended the game. When you get a feeling like that, you want to bounce back from that.”
The Vols did, thanks to a 40-yard, game-winning field goal that soared through the air as time expired. Then, it was time to light them up.
“I absolutely smoked a cigar,” said Chase McGrath, who hit the game-winning, 40-yard field goal as time expired.
Defensive back Trevon Flowers was also on board with the tradition that predates his parents and possibly grandparents.
“I definitely smoked a cigar,” he said with a smile. “It’s tradition man.”
One player chose to abstain. Quarterback Hendon Hooker is apparently not a fan of tobacco.
“I didn’t smoke a cigar, but I got some pictures with my teammates,” Hooker said.
“I just don’t smoke cigars,” he said.
As of Saturday night, neither does Alabama.