It looked like a relatively easy win. Tennessee Football dominated the Virginia Cavaliers 49-13. However, the game didn’t look like it was going that way early on. After scoring on the first drive, the Vols had a turnover on downs, three punts and a fumbled punt return. Then, up 7-0 late in the second quarter, they had the ball on their own 10-yard line.
The turning point in the game came on that drive. UT got some breathing room thanks to a 13-yard Jabari Small run and a 16-yard pass from Joe Milton III to McCallan Castles. However, a false start and a holding made it 1st and 25. After a three-yard run, Milton hit Ramel Keyton for a 41-yard completion.
That play allowed Tennessee Football to go in and score to take a 14-0 lead, and it sparked a run of four straight touchdown drives at the end of the first half and into the beginning of the second half to put the Vols in control. They used that to go on and win the game SCORE.
Make no mistake, this play was huge. The Vols were struggling and had suffered numerous miscues. Earlier in the game, Keyton himself dropped a wide open sure touchdown pass. Talk was already beginning that Milton may not last the game, and Nico Iamaleava would come in.
It’s hard to know if Tennessee Football would have easily dominated the way they did had that not completion not happened. To be fair, the Vols were so dominant on defense it probably wouldn’t have mattered in terms of winning, but we could have been looking at something like a 28-10 win.
Simply put, that game may have meant the difference between fans calling for Iamaleava immediately, or at least counting down to when he takes the job, and Milton still being the clear-cut starter. You don’t want a quarterback controversy this early in the season, so that one play was a big deal.