Tennessee Stat Book
It had been 20 years since Patrick Lenoir last ran through the 'T' formed by the Pride of the Southland Band.
Saturday, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Lenoir was back in the 'T', leading Tennessee onto the field before the Vols' 45-23 victory over Cincinnati with an American flag waving over his shoulder.
The flag wasn't just in honor of the anniversary of Sept. 11, but in honor of his brother, John Robinson Lenoir, who fell victim to the attacks that day in 2001.
"(Today) was really special," Lenoir said. "I could hear the crowd cheering when I raised the flag. I felt it was for me. It was a great feeling."
John Robinson Lenoir was working for Sandler O'Neill, an investment banking firm, on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.
"He was one of the last ones to get out," said Lenoir, who played on the offensive line at Tennessee from 1987 to 1991. "They were trying to get him out. Guys have said they saw him in the elevator trying to help get people out."
It wasn't until two years later that a bone fragment discovered in the rubble at Ground Zero identified Lenoir.
"The tough part of this whole thing is never knowing how he died. Did he jump? Did he burn to death? You just never know. For years that's all I could think about. I hope it went quick."
Lenoir, who lives in Chattanooga and works in pharmaceutical sales, said he hasn't been to Ground Zero in the 10 years since the attack, but does a little something every year to remember his brother.
"He loved barbecue and beer and football," Lenoir said. "So we try to get a couple barbecue sandwiches, or ribs or whatever and just kind of lay low.
"One of these days, maybe my whole family can go up there."
Flipping The Momentum: Cincinnati threw the first punch Saturday, but Tennessee threw a combination of punches to reverse the momentum.
"The first drive (Pead) goes 60 some yards and runs all over us," UT coach Derek Dooley said of Cincinnati taking a 7-0 lead. "Then we score and I just wanted to get a little momentum going, and it worked.
"It was a good way to kind of flip the momentum."
The momentum flip came when Michael Palardy kicked and recovered an onside kick moments after Marlin Lane had tied the game at 7.
"It's kind of our specialty kick," said Palardy. "I just had to trust that it was going to happen, that I was going to make the play, that the two guys next to me were going to block and that I would have a gap to recover the ball and that's what happened."
Tennessee took the lead five plays later and outscored Cincinnati 38-16 the rest of the way.
"We go into every game with stuff to try to generate some plays on special teams," Dooley said. "We've done a pretty decent job the last two years and Palardy just had great execution."
"We watched film on Cincinnati's return team and we saw the opening there, and the chance was there," Palardy said. "It's a huge momentum changer and we needed it.
Notes And Quotes: Defensive tackle Maurice Couch played and had three tackles after dealing with a strained knee this week.
"(The trainers) had him out for the game four days ago," Dooley said. "He goes out in practice, picks up our center and throws him and makes a hit, and I'm thinking, 'how could he be out for the game?' So I didn't tell him they had him out. He just played.
"He had a knee, or something. But he played. And he looked pretty good to me."
Defensive end Ben Martin left the game with an ankle injury and offensive tackle Dallas Thomas left the game with a knee injury. Alex Bullard replaced Thomas at left tackle with Marcus Jackson taking Bullard's place at left guard.
"Marcus (Jackson) is the next guy in," Dooley said. "We kind of start to get nervous with Dallas out at tackle, so I hope he's OK."
Redshirt junior Ben Bartholomew got the start at fullback over sophomore Channing Fugate.
"It was Tuesday at practice they put me with the (starters)," Bartholomew said. "They said it was going to be a competition."
Grant Ramey is a freelance contributor.