Game Recap: UT vs UAB
Denarius Moore didn't have to make the long walk from the north end zone of Neyland Stadium to midfield for the postgame prayer.
A mass of his Tennessee teammates carried the senior receiver most of the way there.
"It was an awesome feeling, really," Moore said after his 25-yard game-winning catch from quarterback Matt Simms on the first play of the second overtime of UT's 32-29 win over UAB on Saturday afternoon.
"It's something that as a little kid, it's in everybody's dreams. It's something you grow up wanting to do, and I was blessed to be in that situation."
Along with a 13-yard score on the first drive for the Vols (2-2), it was Moore's fourth touchdown reception of the season and the lucky 13th of his career.
"I ran as fast as I could to go celebrate with him," sophomore receiver Zach Rogers said.
"It was a great throw by Matt and a great catch by D-Mo. I was just jumping up and down with him, I was just excited we won the game."
"I had to read the safety in order to fake him, like a pump almost," Moore said. "Then (Simms) threw it up there and gave me a chance."
What made it sweeter for Moore was that after he and the Vols' receivers struggled with drops most of the afternoon, Moore came up with a clutch catch in the most crucial moment.
"I was always taught that great players always forget bad things," Moore said.
"Coach ( Derek Dooley) early in the week was talking about F.I.D.O. all week, where it's 'Forget It and Drive On.'"
Added Rogers: "You're always going to have drops in the back of your head, but you've got to have a real short-term memory in this game."
Moore certainly won't soon forget about how it felt on his teammates' shoulders.
Ball Hawk: Prentiss Waggner scored a touchdown on an interception return for the second time this season with a 9-yard return in the second quarter.
"Prentiss has been solid, he really has," Dooley said.
"Him and (safety) Janzen (Jackson) have about 6,000 snaps already this season, so I'm worried about them holding up, but he's been good."
Waggner, who also had an interception return for a score against UT Martin, said he has progressed so much since struggling in a spot start against Ole Miss last season.
"I have become more vocal cause I'm pretty much an old guy in the secondary," he said.
"The game's slowed down a lot from that Ole Miss game. I know what to expect (now). It's night and day compared to (that)."
No Turnovers: Dooley said the Vols put more emphasis on staying turnover-free Saturday.
"I told 'em, 'If we don't turn the ball over we're going to win the game,' " he said. "Thank goodness we made that last play cause it held true. That was a real emphasis for us."
"It's crucial," Simms said. "We won the turnover battle, and that's why we won the game."
Injuries: Add tailback Tauren Poole (thigh), linebacker Herman Lathers (leg) and cornerback Art Evans to the growing list of banged up UT starters.
"I think we had nine starters out," Dooley said. "That hurt us, when you really add up all the guys. That's not an excuse, (UAB) whipped us."
Poole's absence had an obvious effect on UT's run game. David Oku (33 yards on eight carries) struggled, though freshman Rajion Neal (20 yards on four carries) flashed glimpses of his ability.
"It hurt, absolutely," Dooley said. "(Poole's) our best runner. Then our running game just went (to) nothing.
"We've got to show more confidence in Neal, probably should have run him a little more."
Former Austin-East High School standout Anthony Anderson saw plenty of action with Evans out and Eric Gordon struggling.
Bowling: Representatives from the Capital One Bowl attended Saturday's game.
Patrick Brown is a freelance contributor.