Rocky bottom: Vols (3-7) not eligible for bowl game

As horribly wrong as Tennessee's season has gone.

As consistently inept as the Vols' offense has been.

As dramatic a week as the program has experienced.

In spite of all that, nobody thought this possible:

Wyoming 13, Tennessee 7.

"In this day and age in college football, anybody can beat you,'' lame-duck coach Phillip Fulmer said Saturday.

"Especially if you let them.''

The Vols let a 25-point underdog beat them before a disbelieving Neyland Stadium homecoming crowd announced at 99,489. A more accurate guess was 75,000.

In a scene reminiscent of the Florida and Alabama games, the only ones celebrating at the end were a 1,000 or so Cowboys fans.

"We did a great job today and I thought we deserved the victory,'' said Wyoming coach Joe Glenn.

The Cowboys (4-6) had lost their two previous tries against UT by a combined 89-24.

The tale on the scoreboard this time rivaled Fulmer's forced resignation five days earlier for the week's most shocking development on campus.

"We wanted nothing more than to win the game for these coaches,'' said an emotional junior defensive end Wes Brown.

Instead, Tennessee fell to 3-7. With two games to play, the Vols have already equaled the most losses in a season in program history, 4-7 in 1977.

There was nothing shocking about the way the game plan went off course.

Quarterback Nick Stephens threw two first-half interceptions to give the nation's lowest-scoring team - the Cowboys averaged 11.7 points per game - all the points they needed.

The first, on UT's opening possession of the game, was returned 55 yards to the Vols' 4. From there, Chris Stutzriem flipped a touchdown pass to Greg Genho on the next play for a 7-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Stephens cut out the middleman. Backed up at the UT 18 after Wyoming missed a field goal, Stephens threw into a crowd.

Linebacker Ward Dobbs was on the receiving end and rambled 24 yards to give the Cowboys a 13-0 lead.

Exit Stephens.

"He made two decisions with the football that cost us 13 points,'' said UT offensive coordinator Dave Clawson.

Jonathan Crompton took over and finished 11-of-27 passing for 91 yards. One of his completions was an 8-yard TD pass to Gerald Jones in the third quarter to make it 13-7.

UT's only other threat of the afternoon came in the fourth quarter when the Vols drove for a first down at the Wyoming 21.

After a 2-yard Tauren Poole run to the 19 on first down, Crompton threw three consecutive incompletions, the last on fourth-and-8.

The Vols had one more possession but it penetrated only to the Wyoming 39. From there, Crompton was sacked, then threw three more incompletions.

When his fourth-and-18 pass was off target with 1:43 to play, the Vols were doomed.

"You're always disappointed,'' said Fulmer, "particularly disappointed when you lose a game you should have won. And particularly when you give the other team 14 (13 actually) points.

"If we don't throw those (two interceptions) we win 7-0.''

Left to its own devices, the Wyoming offense mounted only two threats, both of which came up empty.

The Cowboys drove to the UT 14 in the second quarter only to miss a 31-yard field-goal try.

They reached the UT 23 early in the fourth quarter but Tennessee stopped tailback Devin Moore short on fourth-and-3.

Still, the Cowboys outgained the Vols 266 yards to 219, and converted nine of 17 third-down tries.

"They ran the ball on us better (167 yards) than I thought they would,'' said Fulmer, "but overall, our defense played well enough to win.''

The offense did not.

UT had converted two first downs on its opening possession to reach the Wyoming 31 when Stephens dropped back to throw a quick screen pass.

Defensive end Mike Neuhaus deflected the pass almost as it left Stephens' hand, caught it and had clear sailing toward the end zone.

Lucas Taylor ran him down at the 4, to no avail, it turned out.

"It was just a good play by their guy,'' said Fulmer.

And Tennessee failed to mount another threat until Crompton led them on a 64-yard, 11-play drive in the third quarter to get on the scoreboard.

Three plays after UT's touchdown, the Vols got a lift when Dennis Rogan recovered a Stutzreim fumble near midfield.

It was not, however, a momentum-changing lift. The offense went three-and-out on its next two possessions.

Tennessee's fourth-quarter march to the Wyoming 19 came mostly on the running of Lennon Creer.

But on third-and-8, Crompton threw a little high for Denarius Moore. On fourth-and-8, the pass for Moore was a little low. Either would have been a tough catch.

"When you get in the red zone,'' said Clawson, it becomes a stacked box (by the defense to stop the run).

"You've got to be able to win matchups. You've got to be able to throw the ball down there.''

If not to your team, at least not to the other team.

Mike Strange may be reached at 865-342-6276.

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Comments » 97

GreenDevilVol writes:

Sounded to me like they needed someone in there to THROW the ball to begin with.

gillblog writes:

The 2009 UT football team will be remebered as,

"The Team of Freshmen".

HartfordCTvol writes:

Blah, blah, blah, we played terrible. Worst season ever. I get it.
Can anyone elaborate on the Jon Gruden sighting in Neyland Stadium? It seems like if it were true I would be hearing more about it. Tampa Bay has a bye week so now would be the most logical time to sneak into town. What about the Lane Kiffin sighting on a golf course? Anybody? Help me out here.

burpee_von_rotweiler_IV writes:

"If we don't throw those (two interceptions) we win 7-0."

Yeah right. We have heard this one before. Tennesseee is only about 700 fumbles/interceptions/bad calls/other excuses from being the dominant college team of the past 17 seasons. Just shut up and play. For the last 10 games the Vols have done neither.

reachkim00 writes:

in response to HartfordCTvol:

Blah, blah, blah, we played terrible. Worst season ever. I get it.
Can anyone elaborate on the Jon Gruden sighting in Neyland Stadium? It seems like if it were true I would be hearing more about it. Tampa Bay has a bye week so now would be the most logical time to sneak into town. What about the Lane Kiffin sighting on a golf course? Anybody? Help me out here.

I saw the ghost of General Neyland holding up a sign that said "FULMER SUCKS"... lol

bluetick writes:

LOL.. funny. People said Clawson sucked, people said Ainge sucked but this year is the worst year for a QB at Tennessee I have ever seen in my life. They are horrible! OL is horrible! Offense is horrible! I'm glad there is no bowl game for us so we can move on with the coaching search and stop the bleeding already. Losing to Wyoming? The end of the world must be near. :) After losing the season opener you would THINK things would improve a little bit at least but they still are clueless. Just no excuse for it anymore, but they sems to pull them out of the bag as to why we lost. Horrible. Clawson will be history too after this year and I'll be happy for that.

turfgrassalumni writes:

"If we don't throw those (two interceptions) we win 7-0.''

Man, if only we could have dominated Wyoming like that. Give me a break! This is the entire problem! 7-0 over wyoming? This is the "if only" statement of the game? That is a horrible attempt at positive spin. The reality of it is we are no longer mediocre. We are much less. Its sad that it has come to this, but.....IT HAS. No looking back this was the right decision to save whatever is left of pride in Knox. The person named to fill this spot has no where to take the program but up from here. At least now I can look forward to next September.

stormblast writes:

No bowl. The 08' team doesn't deserve a bowl. Even with a win and they were to win out and go 6-6. It would have been a waste for any other team that deserved to go to a bowl.

There are too many bowls anyway. This team isn't even the best of the UT branches. UT-Martin is the best. The Skyhawks could school this team right now. UTC, as horrible as they are, could keep the game close at this point. I love the Vols...but, it is what it is.

zqvol writes:

Last time the team looked this bad Jim McDonald was the coach. If you haven't heard of him, look it up he coached one year and they were bad.

TommyJack writes:

I bent over backward to defend Clawson. Man, was I wrong.

FWBVol writes:

This is the worst UT offense in my memory. CBS or ABC flashed something up that this was the first time since 1964 that the Vols have been held under 10 points in three straight games.

I really think this team would have trouble scoring if nobody was defending them. They'd drop a pass or trip over a blocker, fumble a snap. It keeps going from bad to worse.

The bright side is we have an open date next week and we can't lose.

tennisvol writes:

Heck, I just got to look at the film and we need to work harder in practice to get ready for Vandy.

volintexas writes:

How could we be a 25 point favorite over anybody? Assuming that this offense can score 25 points was crazy. I wonder if anyone can research the point spread on the 75 North Texas State game and the 79 Rutgers game. I am sure there are Vol fans who lost money on those games. These three games and the 96 Memphis game are the worst of all time.

HeckuvaStandpoint writes:

"If we don't throw those (two interceptions) we win 7-0.''

This quote says it all. This speaks volumes on Fulmer's attitude, and the players actions on the field are a direct reflection. Shuky Darn, we're only 274 points from being undefeated! Wow....can't wait for this guy to go....and keep him the "heck" away from all football operations in his new role.

I thought this was where the players and coaches were gonna show everyone Fulmer's dismissal was a mistake? I thought they were gonna go out an win it for the Gipper?

This is WYOMING for God's sake...they are terrible....now I have to realize that my once-proud, once-competitive Vols are worse!!'

Don't gimme that B.S. about us not having talent...we still have better players than a bad Wyoming team.

Can't wait for the new era

dirtywhiteboy writes:

folks, what do you think? is this one of the top five worst tennessee teams of all time? it's probably the worst team i can remember and that goes all the way back to majors early teams. maybe some of you old timers can remember a worse one but i can't.

stormblast writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This team is making me appreciate Randy Sanders.

This isn't only the worst UT team I've ever seen. It's the worst SEC team I've ever seen. Far worse than the late 80s-early 90s Vanderbilt and Kentucky teams. Worse than the mid 90s South Carolina teams. This team is a disgrace. Coming from a team that was an interception from winning the SEC...no excuse.

dirtywhiteboy writes:

in response to TommyJack:

I bent over backward to defend Clawson. Man, was I wrong.

i can't see how any new coach they bring in would retain clawson. be much more likely to retain chief. i've always liked woody widenhofer as a dc. too bad he's too old and probably kicked back in the caribbean somewhere about right now.

tennisvol writes:

I think this 2005 recruiting class was one of the best in the country. What in the world happened?

jdpvol writes:

just go, go on just go, now, the players have give up on the team and the season, and you have lost the team , anybody can finish this schedule, the season was lost long ago. This is the saddest thing that I have seen in 40 years. just go on and leave now. My emotions were torn until today about this change, but today cleared things up completely, just go .

volintexas writes:

in response to HeckuvaStandpoint:

"If we don't throw those (two interceptions) we win 7-0.''

This quote says it all. This speaks volumes on Fulmer's attitude, and the players actions on the field are a direct reflection. Shuky Darn, we're only 274 points from being undefeated! Wow....can't wait for this guy to go....and keep him the "heck" away from all football operations in his new role.

I thought this was where the players and coaches were gonna show everyone Fulmer's dismissal was a mistake? I thought they were gonna go out an win it for the Gipper?

This is WYOMING for God's sake...they are terrible....now I have to realize that my once-proud, once-competitive Vols are worse!!'

Don't gimme that B.S. about us not having talent...we still have better players than a bad Wyoming team.

Can't wait for the new era

Agree. As Johnny used to say, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, what a Merry, Merry Christmas it would be.

beaus27 writes:

I can't help but wonder if the players have lost all heart or their wallets have gotten fatter since the season started.

yeavols#228407 writes:

I hate to say it..but the problem could be the offensive coordinator was not the right fit for this job. Ya I know..what tipped me off? Of course many other factors play into it. But in the history of this program, have we ever seen such a bad offensive team? This Clawson guy is WAY over his head and Fulmer just made the wrong decision in hiring him.

jandjhome#228397 writes:

I have never seen a Big Orange team lay down, but I saw it today.

MANVOL writes:

We'll atleast the wyoming coach Glenn saved his Job. He was on the Hot Seat

JACK8254 writes:

Someone may have already covered this- i dont know. Anyway, the only good thing about this Wyoming disgrace is that , hopefully, all you Fulmer dead-enders will shut the F up. Also, this team is has less heart than any of the last 40 years . What a bunch of whiney, excuse-making, under-achieving , Losers. They dont deserve to wear the Orange Jersey. I am surprised that some players of yesteryear havent gone over and kicked their azzes.

shoalcreekvol writes:

I'm sick and tired of the players acting like a bunch of whiny, spoiled children. It's been a problem for a long time, but it reached a high point this week after CPF's, ummm, resignation.

Memo to players: You freakin' lied to us. You ran around crying and screaming about injustice, lashing out against the AD and school that gave you a chance you obviously don't deserve, and bellowing about poor Coach Fulmer and how he has been mistreated. You said playing for him was like being part of a family and that you were going to give all you have to send him out on top. You said you'd honor him.

You lied.

Worse than just lying, you did the one thing your great leader was too proud to EVER do: You quit. You rolled over. Pansies.

And for that you will forever be the team that turns my stomach. And you're the only team about which I've ever said you don't deserve to wear the orange. You're a mixed bag of solid players, great players, and division III players, but collectively you're a pathetic bunch of undisciplined wimps.

If there was really "justice" in all this, as you demand, you'd play the last two games in pink jerseys. The orange deserves better.

UrbanCryer writes:

i think cpf better cancel his motivational speaking tour. i thought all the players were mad as heck and were going to dedicate the games to fulmer. i believe one player even said he felt sorry for wyoming. put this on fulmers list of terrible losses. i too felt bad when fulmer had to resign, end of an era and all, but he has lost this team.

99gator writes:

no one is being retained. i would not want anyone retained.

i would want a "junction boys" offseason to run off the people who don't belong at a school like tennessee and free up scholarships for people who want to play hard and pursue excellence.

Feared_Mustang_Package writes:

3-7, wow, 3-7.

OLDVOL writes:

in response to volintexas:

How could we be a 25 point favorite over anybody? Assuming that this offense can score 25 points was crazy. I wonder if anyone can research the point spread on the 75 North Texas State game and the 79 Rutgers game. I am sure there are Vol fans who lost money on those games. These three games and the 96 Memphis game are the worst of all time.

Do not forget the mighty 1958 team that lost 10-0 to a Fla State team that had only been playing football for 3 or 4 years and Quarterbacked by Joe Majors( brother to Johnny) and we followed that up with a lost to Chattanooga 14-6.First time the goal post were torn down in Neyland Stadium and the riot that followed was complete with Paddy wagons and tear gas by our beloved Knox Police.

vol2008 writes:

in response to tennisvol:

Heck, I just got to look at the film and we need to work harder in practice to get ready for Vandy.

What is mocking Fulmer going to do now? It's fans like you who whined and complained and now he is gone. So get over it. Next year we'll get a new coach and you'll be happy. If I were a player right now, I probably wouldn't have played well this week either...I mean it isn't like they lost their coach or anything. GO VOLS!!!

Feared_Mustang_Package writes:

Well the dark ages of UT football are in front of us. At least Majors left Fulmer something to work with.

OLDVOL writes:

in response to dirtywhiteboy:

folks, what do you think? is this one of the top five worst tennessee teams of all time? it's probably the worst team i can remember and that goes all the way back to majors early teams. maybe some of you old timers can remember a worse one but i can't.

The 1958 team with the lost to Chattanooga 14 to 6 tops my list. 2nd would be the 1954 team that managed to go 4-6 by beating Dayton 14-7 and Chattanooga 20-14. But this team is the worst in modern UT history.

doegem writes:

IF we hadn't thrown two interceptions last year, we win the SEC.

If we don't fumble twice (or could stop a QB draw) a few years ago -- we win the SEC, go to the Rose Bowl and are BCS Champs for the second time.

If Bowden Wyatt had run the T formation, Steven O. Spurrier would have won the Heisman playing QB for the Vols and would have come back to coach and won about 6 National Championships and 12 SEC Titles and his locker room attendant, Phillip Fulmer, would be working like heck to keep all the faucets shiny.

And, of course, if wishes were horses, baby, beggars would riiide!

TheMagician writes:

in response to shoalcreekvol:

I'm sick and tired of the players acting like a bunch of whiny, spoiled children. It's been a problem for a long time, but it reached a high point this week after CPF's, ummm, resignation.

Memo to players: You freakin' lied to us. You ran around crying and screaming about injustice, lashing out against the AD and school that gave you a chance you obviously don't deserve, and bellowing about poor Coach Fulmer and how he has been mistreated. You said playing for him was like being part of a family and that you were going to give all you have to send him out on top. You said you'd honor him.

You lied.

Worse than just lying, you did the one thing your great leader was too proud to EVER do: You quit. You rolled over. Pansies.

And for that you will forever be the team that turns my stomach. And you're the only team about which I've ever said you don't deserve to wear the orange. You're a mixed bag of solid players, great players, and division III players, but collectively you're a pathetic bunch of undisciplined wimps.

If there was really "justice" in all this, as you demand, you'd play the last two games in pink jerseys. The orange deserves better.

As hard of a pill to swallow as this is...I feel exactly the same way as you do.

It's time to rebuild the tradition.

poof!

blitzshoot writes:

in response to shoalcreekvol:

I'm sick and tired of the players acting like a bunch of whiny, spoiled children. It's been a problem for a long time, but it reached a high point this week after CPF's, ummm, resignation.

Memo to players: You freakin' lied to us. You ran around crying and screaming about injustice, lashing out against the AD and school that gave you a chance you obviously don't deserve, and bellowing about poor Coach Fulmer and how he has been mistreated. You said playing for him was like being part of a family and that you were going to give all you have to send him out on top. You said you'd honor him.

You lied.

Worse than just lying, you did the one thing your great leader was too proud to EVER do: You quit. You rolled over. Pansies.

And for that you will forever be the team that turns my stomach. And you're the only team about which I've ever said you don't deserve to wear the orange. You're a mixed bag of solid players, great players, and division III players, but collectively you're a pathetic bunch of undisciplined wimps.

If there was really "justice" in all this, as you demand, you'd play the last two games in pink jerseys. The orange deserves better.

THey deserve to play in plan white helmets. Take the T off.
They embarrass the entire history of the program.

blitzshoot writes:

Fulmer is a virus. Cut him lose now!
Not since 1964 has a UT team scored single digits in three straigh games! 1964!

bobbyutvol writes:

in response to burpee_von_rotweiler_IV:

"If we don't throw those (two interceptions) we win 7-0."

Yeah right. We have heard this one before. Tennesseee is only about 700 fumbles/interceptions/bad calls/other excuses from being the dominant college team of the past 17 seasons. Just shut up and play. For the last 10 games the Vols have done neither.

NICE COMMENT FOOLMER WE WERE ONLY 24 POINT FAVORITES. LOL WE CANT SCORE 24 POINTS. HIRE MIKE LEACH 24 POINTS IS A HALF FOR HIM ///MIKE LEACH FOR COACH ONLY SCORED 49 SO FAR TONIGHT ONLY 10-0 FOR THE SEASON

Colliervol writes:

in response to 99gator:

no one is being retained. i would not want anyone retained.

i would want a "junction boys" offseason to run off the people who don't belong at a school like tennessee and free up scholarships for people who want to play hard and pursue excellence.

Exactly.

Colliervol writes:

in response to shoalcreekvol:

I'm sick and tired of the players acting like a bunch of whiny, spoiled children. It's been a problem for a long time, but it reached a high point this week after CPF's, ummm, resignation.

Memo to players: You freakin' lied to us. You ran around crying and screaming about injustice, lashing out against the AD and school that gave you a chance you obviously don't deserve, and bellowing about poor Coach Fulmer and how he has been mistreated. You said playing for him was like being part of a family and that you were going to give all you have to send him out on top. You said you'd honor him.

You lied.

Worse than just lying, you did the one thing your great leader was too proud to EVER do: You quit. You rolled over. Pansies.

And for that you will forever be the team that turns my stomach. And you're the only team about which I've ever said you don't deserve to wear the orange. You're a mixed bag of solid players, great players, and division III players, but collectively you're a pathetic bunch of undisciplined wimps.

If there was really "justice" in all this, as you demand, you'd play the last two games in pink jerseys. The orange deserves better.

Good post shoal. With the exception of Eric Berry and Dan Williams, if any of them want to transfer, I say get the papers ready tomorrow and let 'em go. There needs to be a total transfusion in this patient.

FedUpVolFan writes:

When the new coach reviews game film,there will be a house cleaning and a bench clearing!

jacksonvol writes:

What the hell was that? Another shi##y performance. GOOD GAWD AWMIGHTY!

blitzshoot writes:

Bring someone in with a heavy hammer and get this virus out of here.

xvolx writes:

that's not true. we definately qualify for the toilet bowl.

tngilmer writes:

in response to 99gator:

no one is being retained. i would not want anyone retained.

i would want a "junction boys" offseason to run off the people who don't belong at a school like tennessee and free up scholarships for people who want to play hard and pursue excellence.

Best post I have seen on this subject. We might be down for a couple of years, but we would get rid of the quitters who took the field today.

tngilmer writes:

in response to vol2008:

What is mocking Fulmer going to do now? It's fans like you who whined and complained and now he is gone. So get over it. Next year we'll get a new coach and you'll be happy. If I were a player right now, I probably wouldn't have played well this week either...I mean it isn't like they lost their coach or anything. GO VOLS!!!

Whatever school Fulmer goes to next, please go with him.

ajbake writes:

i wouldn't touch the defensive coaches. there are no major issues there.

shoalcreekvol writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You can't spell F_c_ Yo_ without "UK". Jerk.

utclassof1992 writes:

It looked like the players tanked this one on purpose. Maybe the players decided to send MH a great big FU for Homecoming? Weirder things have happened.

givehim6 writes:

3-9 season on the way! And I thought the 2005 season was the worst, now i just wish we had 2005 record. A few days ago there was this talk about how the team was going to win the last three games for Phil. I think what needs to be done is a deal needs to be worked out with Vandy & UK to forfeit a lose say 14 to 7. So we just end the season now, and look for a new coach, andstart working on next year.

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