In perhaps the craziest ending in a college football season loaded with crazy finishes, the Music City Bowl featured almost too many wild late moments to catalog. Let’s attempt. The Tennessee Volunteers scored a touchdown on a Tyler Bray pass against the North Carolina Tar Heels to take the lead with just minutes to go, but missed the extra point, giving them only a 20-17 edge.
The Heels nearly converted a fourth-and-20 on their next drive, but Dwight Jones dropped T.J. Yates’ pass. The Vols ran some clock and punted back, then Yates found Todd Harrelson for a 28-yard pass, which was extended by a damn-near somersault of a spear to the back of the neck by Janzen Jackson. I’m really not making that up. Another quick gain, and the Heels were in business with seconds left.
Somebody decided running the ball would be a good idea, even though UNC had no timeouts. Shaun Draughn couldn’t get the first down, and the field goal unit thought its services were needed. With at least eight offensive linemen on the field plus the kicker, Yates snapped the ball as the clock expired. Refs ruled the game over, Vols players celebrated, and Derek Dooley knew exactly what was coming.
Official review. Game not over. One second left. Five-yard penalty for seven tons of players on the field. Field goal good. Overtime. Oh, and penalty for roughing the kicker.
Both teams scored in the first round, then Bray threw a pick to set UNC up for a winning field goal. The Heels converted, and good Lord I typed every word of that from memory, because once you’ve gazed at that kind of horror, it’s seared into your mind forever.
For more on this game, join Rocky Top Talk or Carolina March or review my game-long descent into insanity at SB Nation.