Vols Complete Cinderella Season with Win over Indiana in TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee Football has done it, once again. They started off the season with a 1-4 record, but then, the ship was righted and the Vols went 7-1 in their last eight games.

Many people had counted Coach Pruitt and his boys from Rocky Top out. Nobody thought they had what it took to make a bowl game early on.

There was a point in time where Jeremy had to do something and do something fast because his seat was getting warmer and warmer each week and the media was calling for his head.

But on Thursday, January 2, 2020, those critics and the same media that were calling for Pruitt’s head was silenced.

Everybody’s jaws were on the floor, they couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Volunteers were down 22-9.

But they never gave up, scoring 14 points in just 30 seconds to take a 23-22 lead over the Indiana Hoosiers from the Big Ten Conference.

None of that would’ve been possible had Pruitt not rolled the dice and come up successful on an onside kick attempt.

When media asked him what made him make that decision at that point in time, Pruitt stated “Well, we were down a score.”

Needless to say, he took a risk, knowing what was at stake and it paid off.

Believe it or not, Tennessee is 2020 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Champions.

Whether you like it or not, you have to respect Tennessee for the Cinderella season that was 2019.

Picture: Tennessee Football Twitter.

Tennessee to Top Miraculous Turnaround Season with Trip to Gator Bowl to face Indiana

It’s no secret that Tennessee got off to a rough start to the season in 2019, but in their last seven games, the tables turned. The last seven games saw the Vols go an unforeseen 6-1.

On Sunday, it was announced that Tennessee (7-5) would be heading to Jacksonville, Florida’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

Head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s Volunteers will face the Big Ten’s Indiana Hoosiers, who will come into the January 2, 2020 bowl game at (8-4).

The 2019 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl will be the 75th anniversary of one of college football’s most-storied, prized bowls.

The meeting between Indiana and Tennessee in Jacksonville, Florida, will be just the second all-time meeting between the two programs, with the only previous meeting coming in the 1987 Peach Bowl on January 2, 1988, with Tennessee coming away victorious 27-22.

This bowl appearance will be Tennessee’s 53rd postseason appearance all-time, which is sixth in college football history.

The Volunteers have been to six previous Gator Bowls, with this being their seventh appearance.

Tennessee’s in the Gator Bowl is 4-2, with their most recent trip to Jacksonville coming in 2015, when the Volunteers toppled the Iowa Hawkeyes by a final score of 45-28.

Prior to that, Tennessee beat Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl in 1994, lost to Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl in 1973, lost to Florida in the Gator Bowl in 1969, beat Syracuse in the Gator Bowl in 1966, and beat Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl of 1957.

Can the Vols make it 5-2 all-time in the storied Gator Bowl?

Find out January 2, 2020 at 6pm CT on ESPN.

Picture: (UTSports.com)

My First College Broadcasting Trip

Around this time in 2014, I received a Facebook message from Randy Belyeu, the Wetumpka High School Softball coach at time. I knew it must’ve been important because he never messaged me out of the blue. The message read: “Hey Braxton, it’s Coach Belyeu give me a call when you get the chance.” Immediately I picked up my phone and dialed his number. He picked up and we talked for a while and then he said “I’ve been in touch with Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama, and they would love to have you up there for a baseball game, just pull up their schedule and pick the home game you want to attend.” I knew this was the start of something special. I glanced at the schedule and chose the April 13, 2014 home game vs. Murray State Racers. Once I had the game picked out I immediately started practicing. Before I knew it, the weekend was here. We left Wetumpka on a Saturday in time for the Sunday game. We spent the night at University Inn just miles from Rudy Abbott Field. Sunday morning, I woke up quickly and rushed out of the hotel room as I had to meet former Jacksonville State Baseball coach Rudy Abbott that morning and I refused to be late. After I met Coach Abbott, we headed over to the baseball field. I was only expecting to announce half the game at the most, but I ended up announcing the entire game. Never give up on your dream, even when times get rough God might have something great right around the corner.

Next entry: A Visit With Rod Bramblett and Auburn Baseball.