KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee’s win against the University of Alabama is what everyone has been talking about the past few days.
Tennessee snapped a losing streak against Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 15, breaking the curse and allowing the Vols to defeat the Crimson Tide for the first time in 15 years.
The fans showed their excitement by rushing to the field after the game and even smoking cigars on the field. Fans tore down both goalposts before carrying them down Cumberland Avenue and throwing them into the river. The win Saturday continues UT’s undefeated run this season and puts the team back in the national spotlight.
Many are now comparing this season so far to the 1998 campaign. Back in ’98, the Vols were undefeated, Tee Martin was the quarterback and Tennessee won the National Championship.
📧 Have breaking come to you: Subscribe to News 2 email alerts →
Many Vols fans are saying this team is on the right path to do it again. Jamie Lemmons has been cheering for the orange and white for as long as he can remember,
“I graduated in ’97. So, I was prime 90s Vols. So that was right in my wheelhouse for sure.”
He said his first game was with his parents when Tennessee was playing at Georgia Tech.
“My first Vols game that I had went to, I was maybe 4 or 5 years old.”
Back in the 90s, he took his girlfriend at the time, now wife, to her first game. They’re raising their kids to love Rocky Top just as much as they do.
“It’s no fun if you can’t pass it along to the next generation for sure,” he said.
The Voice of the Vols Bob Kesling has called many of the games Lemmons has watched. Tennessee has only beaten Alabama a handful of times since Kesling has been in the business when he started out as a sports reporter.
“Back in 1982, Tennessee hadn’t beaten Alabama in 11 years and Coach Majors had taken over in ’77 and hadn’t beaten Bear Bryant in Alabama. Suddenly in ’82, Tennessee comes up, knocks off Bear, Coach Majors’ first win, and that kind of propelled the program going forward,” said Kesling.
He said that year they tore the goalpost down and rushed the field. It was a similar scene in 1998 when UT also beat Florida on a last-second field goal and then again on Saturday.
“The long-time Tennessee fans know, it’s the Alabama game, that’s the one that counts, and when you win it, you celebrate, and they celebrated like crazy Saturday night,” Kesling said.
He added that no game has compared to this one, saying, “I’ve never seen a better football game than this, let alone call one or work one.”
Lemmons was home watching the game. During those final seconds, he said, “I couldn’t believe it. I jumped up and did some screaming, I think I threw a pillow at one point.”
“I’m pretty sure I even shed a tear or two. Pretty amazing, pretty amazing reaction for sure,” Lemmons added.
He said it brings back memories of the team he came to love back in the day.
“Yes, it was the fact that it was Alabama. That’s part of it, but to get back to the point to where Tennessee football is relevant again, that’s what that was all about.”
Both men say they know the season isn’t close to over. There are still some big games ahead but they’re going to relish this moment for a while.