If you're wondering when's the last time Tennessee beat an SEC team other than Vanderbilt or Kentucky on the road, it was exactly five years ago from Saturday.
If you're wondering where that road win occurred on Oct. 13, 2007, it was at Mississippi State.
I looked back at the story I wrote that day. It seems the Vols fell into early-season habits, gave up two big-play touchdowns and fell behind 14-7.
Then they closed ranks, ground out a 33-21 win and left Starkville with a smile.
UT returns to Scott Field for the first time in five years Saturday. What Tennessee fan wouldn't leave smiling if the Vols revisited the same script.
Since that day, UT has lost at every SEC site except Vanderbilt — three times at Alabama and Georgia, twice at Florida and South Carolina.
The only conference road wins came at Vandy (2008, 2010) and Kentucky (2007, 2009).
The turmoil UT has experienced since 2007 is well documented. From rock bottom, there is a series of steps back to where Tennessee wants to be.
Winning Saturday night would be one of them.
"This is a good opportunity on the road against a good football team that has a lot of swagger right now,'' UT coach Derek Dooley said.
Mississippi State is 5-0 and ranked No. 19. Throw in two wins at the end of 2011 (Ole Miss, Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl) and the Bulldogs are riding a seven-game win streak. It's valid swagger.
The swagger Tennessee used to travel with has evaporated setback by setback. Dooley says he doesn't want this 2012 team to be bound with the baggage of the past. He wants it to stand on its own results.
"It's going to be a big step for our team to go down there,'' he said. "We obviously need to learn how to finish the game.''
UT fans are growing impatient with the steps process. So far they've seen mostly small steps.
Winning the season opener in the Georgia Dome shouldn't be undervalued. Especially after N.C. State's upset over Florida State last weekend.
Going toe-to-toe with Florida well into the third quarter was a small step. Rallying from a disastrous start at Georgia and showing fight to the finish was another step.
Mississippi State will be favored Saturday. The cowbells will be clanging. The Bulldogs will be barking.
State hasn't been overwhelming against a mild schedule but the Bulldogs have proved one thing:
They know how to win.
That's the next step for this Tennessee team that wants to stand on its own. Closing the deal in a hostile environment.
Dooley's right, it's a big one.