Coach Duggs and his Tennessee team played a doubleheader, *ahem* … a Duggleheader last night to try and continue the Vols’ hot streak.
Lets get into the 2 games that Duggs played last night.
The first game of the slate saw Tennessee going on the road to take on 12th ranked South Carolina.
As an added twist, the head coach of South Carolina is the same guy who was the head coach at Toledo back when Duggs was Toledo’s offensive coordinator.
This guy was also the head coach of South Carolina when they made the national title game 3 years back with 2 losses, ahead of Duggs’ 1 loss USC team when Duggs was the offensive coordinator.
Don’t ask me what the guy’s name is though. Ok moving on.
Early on in the game against South Carolina Duggs stuck with what Duggs does best.
Pounding the rock.
Rico Burgerton was getting carry after carry on the 1st drive which ended with a Stefan Cheah TD pass to Tiny Scoops putting the Vols up 7-0.
On the 1st drive it appeared that Jazz Owens, Vols’ kick returner and backup running back, went out of the game with an injury.
Turns out it was Rico Burgerton … turns out it was a dislocated ankle … turns out it is a 5 weeks injury.
South Carolina drove down the field with ease on their 1st drive with their star QB David Cobbs shredding Duggs’ improved defense.
Cobbs capped the drive off with a 14 yard TD pass to Darron Britt. All tied up ay 7.
Coach Duggs briefly went into meltdown mode upon hearing of Burgerton’s injury.
He was arguing with Muj over play-calling strategy and the Vols drive ended up with a Stefan Cheah pick after assistant coach Billy Football tried to extert some influence over Duggs’ play-calling.
Billy was immediately dismissed from the sideline. He would later return from the locker room and join the team.
The remainder of the first half was define by:
- Tennessee’s offensive line beasting
- 5th year senior Jazz Owens having the game of his life in place of Burgerton
- Sloppy defense by Tennesee.
A Jazz Owens goal-line TD run put the Vols up 14-7 only for Cobbs and his South Carolina offense drove down the field and tied the game up at 14 after Duggs’ defense botched their coverage on a 3rd-and-17 screen pass.
Cheah punched in a 2 yard TD run with less than a minute left in the half to put the Vols up 21-14 only for Cobbs to complete a 50 yard bomb to Clay Odom leading to a South Carolina field goal right before the half.
Duggs and Co. came out strong in the second half with their first drive ending in a Tony Blount FB dive from the goal-line.
Duggs’ defense showed holes on Carolina’s next drive with Cobbs completing a 72 yard pass to Odom, and Cobbs running it in from the 7 yard line to make it 28-24.
Jazz Owens continued to make sure the Vols didn’t miss a beat without their star running back Burgerton, his second rushing TD on the day made it 35-24.
In a ballsy move, Cobbs and Carolina went for it on 4th and 5 at the start of the 4th quarter leading to a 7 yard TD, and after the 2 point conversion, it was 35-32 Tennessee.
Duggs put on a clock management clinic to finish the game off on Tennessee’s final drive.
Cheah handed the ball of to Owens over and over and over again, eating clock and leading to Owens’ 3rd rushing TD of the game, sealing a victor for the Vols, 42-32.
Owens finished the day with 196 yards on 31 carries and 3 touchdowns.
The next game of the Duggleheader saw Tennessee take on a talented but underachieving, unranked Alabama team.
Tennessee was back at home but Duggs knew this would be no walk in the park.
Right off the bat Bama’s QB Gemara Palmer threw a strike to star receiver John Lewis for a 85 yard TD. 7-0 Bama.
The Vols responded on their first drive with a Tiny Scoops short TD run to tie things up at 7.
On Bama’s next drive Palmer made a Johnny Manziel-esque play, escaping a certain sack before firing off a deep pass to Pierre Riggs. That lead to a short TD run from Bama’s star running back Curtis Williams, 14-7 Bama.
Duggs, as he’s known to do, started to panic.
He was overhead on the sideline telling his assistants, “This is going so bad.”
In a clear panic move Duggs decided to go for it on 4th and 10 from midfield and didn’t convert.
Curtis Williams continued to gash Duggs’ defense but the Vols were able to bend-don’t-break and Bama settled for a field goal to make it 17-7.
While Cheah struggled to gain much yards through the air, Jazz Owens built on his stellar performance against South Carolina by continuing to gain chunk yardage on every run.
A PFT Commenter field goal made it 17-10 Bama.
A huge defensive stop on Bama’s next drive led to a 2 minute drill situation for Duggs and Cheah which resulted in a Cheah interception in field goal range.
This was followed by a Palmer pick and the first half came to an end.
Duggs got back to his roots coming out of the locker room, calling a 13 play drive of all runs, for 76 yards, that ended with a TD run for Owens or Scoops can’t remember lmao.
17-17 all tied up.
The Vols continued their bend-don’t-break defense holding Bama to a field goal on their following drive. 20-17 Bama.
Tennessee punted after an early 4th quarter drive stalled out.
Muj was able to talk Duggs off the ledge of going for it on 4th and long.
Williams continued to beast on the ground for Bama but Tennessee was able to force a Bama punt.
Jazz Owens was carrying the team on his back on the Vols’ next drive. Picking up first down after first down until Cheah ran the ball in for a TD from the 12 yard line.
24-20 Vols for their first lead of the game with 1:06 left.
Bama’s drive started off with 2 huge sacks from Duggs’ defense.
A deep pass was broken up in the end zone by Tennessee with 24 seconds left, and after Bama botched their clock management, not calling a timeout after a solid gain with 7 seconds left, Tennessee escaped with a narrow victory.
The Tennessee defense continues to show improvement holding Bama’s explosive offense to 3 second half points.
Tennessee is 7-2 and #1 in the nation but #5 Florida is ahead of Tennesee in the SEC East division standings.
This could set up a scenario where Florida wins out, plays in the SEC championship game, wins it, and jumps Tennessee to play in the national title game even if Tennessee doesn’t lose again.
We shall see.
Duggs and Co. head to College Station to play Texas A&M Sunday night.