HAT-HANGER: Tennessee’s 23-21 win over USC in 2013 still brings warm memories to the Volunteers, and bitter ones to the Gamecocks. Were it not for that loss, delivered by a last-second field goal, USC would have won the SEC East and been in the national championship picture.
The Vols still remember the win, although they only won one more game the rest of the season. Marquez North made an astounding catch while being bear-hugged by Ahmad Christian around the waist to pick up a third-and-9 and keep the game-winning drive alive. The SEC’s media guide shows the catch in North’s bio.
“He makes catches like that a lot,” offensive lineman Mack Crowder said. “He’s constantly working on his hands. That was a ridiculous catch, though. Those don’t come around too often.”
While Tennessee didn’t win much after that, coach Butch Jones reflected on what it meant for his program going forward. If nothing else, it showed the Vols can win big games.
“It was a critical win for us,” he said. “There were so many things that went into winning that game, so many great illustrations of how to play winning football. We fell behind and we found a way to win to win the game. It was third-and-9 ”
He didn’t need to finish.
Malone, an early enrollee from Gallatin, Tenn., is a five-star recruit who was rated the No. 2 player at his position and the No. 20 player overall. Malone has 20 catches for 218 yards and a touchdown this year.
“I’m excited about our wide receiver position,” Jones said. “It’s going to be one that’s going to be exceptionally strong.”
“We were involved in some very good football games,” Jones said.
In 2015, the Vols will play at Nashville’s LP Field against UAB. In 2016, they play Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway.