A case of déjà Vols

Tennessee comes up short, 19-15

Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty (2) is stopped by UCLA defenders Rahim Moore (3) and Courtney Viney (7) on Saturday, September 12, 2009 at Neyland Stadium. UT lost the game 19-15.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty (2) is stopped by UCLA defenders Rahim Moore (3) and Courtney Viney (7) on Saturday, September 12, 2009 at Neyland Stadium. UT lost the game 19-15.

Gameday recap: Tennessee 15, UCLA 19

One yard. Three feet. Doesn't sound like a lot.

UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel referred to Neyland Stadium as "hallowed ground'' Saturday. No doubt, that most hallowed of all was the three feet that separated Tennessee from the Bruins' goal line.

And, as it turned out, that separated UT from victory. UCLA escaped with a 19-15 upset that left a crowd of 102,239 and an ESPN audience glued to their seats.

The second game of the Lane Kiffin Era at UT could not have turned out more differently than the first.

The Vols won their opener by a mile a week ago. Saturday, they lost by the length of an arm.

The pyrotechnics of the 63-7 win over Western Kentucky were replaced by the heartburn of not being able to punch in the winning score in the final minutes against the stubborn Bruins.

"A very discouraging loss,'' Kiffin called it.

The Vols (1-1) aided UCLA's cause with four turnovers, spotted the Bruins (2-0) a 19-10 lead and generally were an offensive wreck for most of three quarters.

"Somehow,'' said Kiffin, "we got out of whack today.

"Everything we talked about, (not) letting the emotion of a big game get to us . . . They outplayed us. They out-executed us.

"Only 208 yards (of total offense). That's embarrassing.''

And still, as the clock ticked toward zero, the Vols found traction to muster what looked for all the world like a game-winning drive.

After a Daniel Lincoln field goal narrowed the deficit to 19-13, and then a UCLA punt, Tennessee took over at its 46 with 8:41 to play.

The Vols battled forward in small, hard-won increments. Montario Hardesty, who had scored UT's only touchdown on an 11-yard run in the first quarter, fought for 2 tough yards to convert a fourth-and-1 at the UCLA 31.

Two plays later Jonathan Crompton chased away the goblins of three previous interceptions and hit Quintin Hancock for 26 yards.

First and goal at the UCLA 7.

After a loss on first down, Hardesty fought to the 3 to leave it third-and-goal.

Bryce Brown got only a yard to the 2. That left one chance at redemption.

On fourth-and-goal, Hardesty got the call. He made the 1, but no more as UCLA's defense won the day's most decisive battle.

"We'd like to think when we have one yard to go to win the game we can do it,'' said Kiffin.

"That's the mentality we'd like to have. That's very discouraging to see.''

There was still drama packed into the final 1:59, after UCLA took over and huddled in its own end zone.

Tailback Johnathan Franklin fumbled, but managed to beat the grasping Tennessee hands and recover at the 1.

Then UT cornerback Dennis Rogan tackled UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince in the end zone for a safety.

That left it 19-15 with 1:41 to play and UCLA had to punt the ball back to Tennessee.

The Vols got possession at their 40 with 1:37 left, but no timeouts and no time to ride a grinding running game.

It was too much to overcome for a team out of whack.

Crompton was sacked once and threw incomplete three times to turn the ball back to the Bruins for the ceremonial taking of a knee.

"When they say this is hallowed ground, it's obvious,'' said Neuheisel. "It's really a privilege to play in an environment such as this and our kids took it as such.''

Maybe the Vols didn't. Something was missing.

Their only touchdown was a Bruin gift. Prince fumbled when sacked by Willie Bohannon in the first quarter. UT recovered at the UCLA and Hardesty scored on the first snap.

That made it 10-3, UT, but the second quarter was a disaster.

Another way to put it, a flashback to 2008.

A fumbled center snap gave UCLA a short field for a tying touchdown.

Prince, a redshirt freshman in his first road game, hit fullback Chane Moline for a 12-yard touchdown.

Crompton then threw two interceptions before halftime and a third on the first play of the third quarter.

The latter led Kai Forbath's second field goal and a 13-10 UCLA lead.

Forbath added two more field goals to make it 19-10 as the Vols continued to do nothing on offense.

When they finally started moving, it was too little too late.

"Credit to them,'' Kiffin said of UCLA. "They did a good job of traveling coast to coast and staying focused.''

The Bruins managed only 186 yards of offense and converted only three of 14 third downs.

But they limited turnovers - just the one - and kept the defensive heat on Crompton and the Vols.

Regrouping won't be fun. Next stop is The Swamp and the No. 1-ranked Florida Gators.

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Comments » 799

itsgrt2batnvol writes:

First! Crompton Sucks! Go Vols!

Grim1 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TopTenn writes:

UCLA 12 TN 15 Crompton 7

Volon writes:

Ouch. Probably not the last one. Crompton still practices well.

BigOrange93 writes:

we did alright despite the TURNOVERS

99PairsOfJortsOnTheWall writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

EglinVOL writes:

OH MY GOD! CROMPTON

the10sevol writes:

congrats to the bruins, we didn't play well enough on offense to win. nuff said.
GBO

TooLegit2Quit writes:

Deja Vu?

flashbone writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

one thing about the vols, win or lose...........your still an a hole

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

Even Lane Kiffin can't win with that. We may not win an SEC game. Crompton needs to just bring water to the guys. He is the worst football player I have ever seen.

RJ_Vol writes:

Well, now we know. An un-named previous coach was on the sidelines and so was his philosophy...Take a high powered offense and dive off tackle when you need three yards for a touchdown. UT snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. CLK's personnel decisions were terrible. 6-6 is going to be tough to make. That offense was worse than anything we put on the field last year - any game.

Budlie writes:

BRING ON NICK STEPHENS!!!!!!

AllVolAllDay writes:

SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME THAT I JUST WOKE UP FROM A FROM A NIGHTMARE!!!! WTF!!!!

livinginknoxnow writes:

One yard short. One head coach short. One quarterback short. And now the joy of being a troll this week has been shortened. Looking forward to a possible classic FL - Tenn game in 2010, with a new TN coach and QB.

jasonn1970 writes:

The honeymoon's over. I was Kiffin's biggest fan until his stubborn refusal to replace Crompton (at halftime if not a series later). This performance is unacceptable. 3 ints. is more than enough to warrant a change at QB. The Vols might well have won today if Crompton hadn't been allowed to remain in the game for far too long.

TopTenn writes:

Who was UT worst QB before Crompton? I can't remember worst.

SignalMtnVol writes:

Pathetic. F'ing PATHETIC. If John Crompton never gets his arse off the bench again, it'll be to damn soon. The mountain moron singlehandedly lost that game.

InertGas writes:

He's baaaaack !!!

TommyJack writes:

It's like TJ and PD and a few others have been saying for 2 years....the best QB was on the bench. Not too freakin complicated.

99gator writes:

well, we now know it wasn't clawson.

EglinVOL writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

Well, now we know. An un-named previous coach was on the sidelines and so was his philosophy...Take a high powered offense and dive off tackle when you need three yards for a touchdown. UT snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. CLK's personnel decisions were terrible. 6-6 is going to be tough to make. That offense was worse than anything we put on the field last year - any game.

OH MY GOD

Major_Magilicutty writes:

in response to Grim1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This is disgraceful. It's just a football game. You should grow up.

Hydra writes:

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same huh...

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to itsgrt2batnvol:

First! Crompton Sucks! Go Vols!

I dont get it. All the coaches had to do was view Cromptom's film from last year. He has got to be the most overrated QB to play at Tennessee. I hoped for 6-6 but now it may be 5-7. Kiffin needs to send doughnuts to all the Gators before next week.

tlallman writes:

It wasn't just Crompton's fault. The offensive line was like a sieve. And the receivers never got open, or ran the wrong routes.

Elkabong1940 writes:

Compton's play defeats Vols!

99PairsOfJortsOnTheWall writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

rockytoptn1 writes:

Chumpton is pitiful! Second verse...,same as the first.

SmokeyHound writes:

i new we would lose this game. bad coaching, bad play calling, bad decision making, omg crompton sucks, berry needs to do something, nukeese is overrated, lane kiffin is a loud mouth, the sec is going to kill us, im used to getting killed, omg crompton sucks even more, berry is not going to come close to getting heisman, monte is overrated, we got a lot of calls our way, if you are still reading this you have noo life kind of like jonathan crompton, our o-line is going to get eaten up by florida much less ohio, im bumbed because i have to go to a ut game, and i like USC now. crompton sucks so much i cant even say how much he stinks. all the people on this site who picked us to win are retards have fun staying vol fans!! I will see yall in a couple of years! boo vols

jpGator writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Grim1 writes:

in response to Major_Magilicutty:

This is disgraceful. It's just a football game. You should grow up.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

chrisw2967 writes:

Theres no way kiffin starts crompton next week ? Stephens has to get the start,he can do all the things that crompton can do and with better style.
personally after the 2nd int he should of been benched.

wags32 writes:

I hate it for Crompton but he just does not have what it takes to play QB in the SEC. He has gotta go and give Stephens a chance untill we can get Bray in here. HE HAS GOT TO BE BENCHED NOW!!!!!!

99gator writes:

it will take time.

bray will be there next year.

but, this was not a quick fix and is why fulmer had to go.

Crompton_sucks writes:

Crompton sucks take away his scholarship he needs to pay for his dumb A** mistakes

tdforvols writes:

Can't really put this loss on the coaches (unlike last year). Bad QB play sunk the ship....

SignalMtnVol writes:

I can't get over the blatant refusal to bench that moron. I swear to God, he has to be the worst QB in UT history.

Ironcity writes:

Its hard to tell how good we can be vwhen our QB makes mistake after mistake. I am not sure if Kiffin lets Crompton take the beat down at UF and then goes to Stephens or does he through Stephens to the wolves. That Price destroyed Sullins. Why keep running their.

whatcanbrowndoforyou writes:

OL got beat by Ucla's DL, Crompton sucks, the D couldn't win it for us. Welcome to the past. I was pumped cause of those recruits being in the stands today and us being on national tv so many more recruits to watch now i just wish they had of blacked the game out. Dramatic improvement needed by next weekend BIG TIME!!

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Okay, Crompton had a bad game--and I'm sure that he's well aware of that.

Hate that we lost but not too terribly surprised. I don't think we played well enough to win the game even if we didn't turn the ball over.

We've got a lot of games to go before we're a really good team.

livinginknoxnow writes:

How well I painfully remember the Ron Zook era now. Great talent, great recruiting, and clueless coaching.

Will Hamiliton take 2 1/2 years to correct his mistake?

jobrando#216494 writes:

It's Pound the Rock football once more. Do they have Fulmer's play book?

sig4ever writes:

If we lose to Florida next week with Crompton at the helm - good bye any respect and optimism I had for Kiffin. This sorry excuse for a SENIOR quarterback was the straw that broke the camel's back for Fulmer.

AllVolAllDay writes:

Look guys...don't blame clk for this, I agree wit MH goin for 2 yards, and you have to stick with your QB through thick and thin but that QB should make better decisions...there's only one person to blame for this game!!! If he would've prevented at least one of those picks we still win, I'm heartbroken...the season's not over but this is a heartbreaker!!!!!! Still...GO VOLS!!!!

jpGator writes:

we will ride again!

TommyJack writes:

in response to wags32:

I hate it for Crompton but he just does not have what it takes to play QB in the SEC. He has gotta go and give Stephens a chance untill we can get Bray in here. HE HAS GOT TO BE BENCHED NOW!!!!!!

Crompton will start next week. Book it.

gvegasvol writes:

Well now...looks like we got ourselves a situation. Where was all the GREAT coaching in this game? 4 plays inside the 10 yard line and 3 points - including two straight runs up the middle at the end of the game. You guys still think kiffin is the greatest coach in the world? His play calling was terrible - just terrible. Blame crompton all you want - and he is awful - but the lame train was calling the plays!

lyndiana#410273 writes:

Crompton must go this can't happen 2 years in a row.

posivol writes:

well dont say i didnt tell you.dude hired a great staff but cant coach a lick.no excuse for not pulling jc.

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