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)

Pat Sullivan: The Definition of A Warrior

Most all of us know former Auburn quarterback and college football head coach Pat Sullivan as the 1971 Heisman Trophy winner.

But very few of us know that he’d had neck cancer since 2003, due to his addiction to smokeless tobacco.

There is no doubt that smokeless tobacco took its tole on the Auburn great. Very few of us know that he coached football at Samford University on a feeding tube. In April 2018, Sullivan said one “feeding” would get him to halftime and then it was time to repeat the feeding tube process.

Pat was on a feeding tube for seven months and then was allowed to get off of it and live a ‘normal’ life again. In an interview, Pat says “If you were told to jump off a bridge, you wouldn’t do it. That’s no different than using tobacco, don’t do it, never, ever, stop fighting.

Auburn and Alabama fans alike, will tell you, there was nobody quite like Pat Sullivan. Such a kind, courageous man.

Pat, even though you’re no longer here with us on earth, we’ll never forget you and the impact you left, not only on college football, but in the world we live in. You never gave up until your last breath.

You fought cancer for 16 long, painful years, now you can rest without pain.

Thank you for showing us what it’s like to be a warrior.

Wetumpka Hosts Rival Stanhope Elmore in Blackout Clash

For decades the question has been asked “Who is Wetumpka’s biggest rival, Prattville or Stanhope?” While opinions have varied over the decades, from a personal standpoint, Stanhope Elmore is the bigger rival of the two in my eyes. Why, you might ask. Well, simply put there is absolutely no love lost when it comes down to these two, tensions always seem to rise, along with the stakes. No, this game hasn’t had the implications that the Prattville rivalry has had in past years, often it doesn’t even matter what the two teams’ records are when it comes down to this game. You may like to think of it as the Iron Bowl of high school football, especially here in Elmore County. This game always seems to be a knock-down, drag-out war, no matter what sport it’s in. Now on to the preview.

Glancing at the Opponent

The Mustangs, led by third-year head coach Brian Bradford, come into tonight’s game with a (5-1) record. Their only loss being to cross-county rival Prattville 42-0, on August 30. Stanhope Elmore came away victorious against Chilton County (24-8), Benjamin Russell (12-7), Calera (42-15), Shades Valley (26-6), and Smiths Station (20-17).

Inside the Rivalry

This meeting between the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs and Wetumpka Indians, will be the 51st all-time meeting in this series. Stanhope Elmore owns a 30-20 edge in the series.

The series dates back to October 16, 1970, a game that Wetumpka won 19-14, and was most recently played on October 5, 2018, a game that Stanhope Elmore came away with the late 34-28 victory. But as I mentioned before, throw everything, the kitchen sink included, out of the window in this one. None of that matters.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm at Hohenberg Field in Wetumpka.

Pictures: David Gray.

Nice to See You Again, Old Friend

About two weeks ago, I was heading to Alpharetta, Georgia and I passed the place where I spent a large amount of my time growing up, Turner Field, now known as Georgia State Stadium, since it is the home of the Georgia State Panthers football. I still call it Turner Field, though, because that’s what I’ve always known it as. I witnessed many victories inside those friendly confines and very few losses. In fact, a few months ago, I did the math, and I realized that I had been to 42 Braves games, 41 of which game at Turner Field. The Braves home record when I attend is 31-10. I like to think of myself as the Braves ‘good luck charm’. Because they almost never lose when I’m in attendance. As I passed the stadium, I was suddenly taken back to my childhood, I felt the thrill that I felt as a little kid, I felt like a kid in a candy store all over again. I’ve seen so many Braves greats take the field there. I was taken back to when I was little and we would pull up to the stadium and I would blurt out the ESPN theme song, I could hear Crazy Train over the PA system in my head as I passed it. So many great memories were made there. I never visited the stadium when I didn’t thoroughly enjoy myself. It was like I was a little kid again for that split-second. So many life-long friends were made inside those four walls. I haven’t been inside SunTrust Park yet, but I did pass it as I was headed home that weekend and I plan to visit in 2020. Nice to see you again, old friend.

Bad Blood Boiling: Wetumpka, Prattville to Renew Long-standing Rivalry Tonight in Tribe’s Home Opener

It’s been a long first five weeks of 2019 for Wetumpka, as they have traveled through seemingly every corner of the state, but tonight, that all changes tonight when the Indians open the gates of Hohenberg Field for the first time in the season and welcome bitter-rival, Prattville to town for the renewal of the two storied programs long-standing rivalry.

Glancing at the Opponent

Prattville comes into tonight’s game with a 3-1 record, which features wins over Foley, Stanhope-Elmore, and Enterprise and a loss to defending 7A state champion, Central Phenix-City, led by former Prattville head coach, Jamey Dubose. The Lions are led by second-year head coach, Caleb Ross. Prior to making the commute to Prattville, Ross spent time at Opelika (2017), McGill-Toolen (2014-2016), and Thompson (2011).

Inside the Series:

Wetumpka (3-2) and Prattville (3-1) will meet for the 58th time in history tonight, when the two teams kickoff at Hohenberg Field in Wetumpka. The series dates all the way back to 1922, a game that Wetumpka won 25-6. Although have 57 prior meetings, this series has had a hiatus of its own. The Indians and Lions didn’t meet from 2014 to 2015, but picked back up in 2016. Wetumpka has won the last three meetings in the series and will look to continue that streak tonight, September 27, 2019.

Battle in Ol’ Paul Snow: Tribe, Bucks Meet For Second Consecutive Season at Jacksonville State University

It’s been a long first four weeks of 2019 for the Wetumpka Indians (2-2) but thankfully, the long stretch of traveling is almost over, at least for a couple of weeks. Thursday night’s matchup at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in Jacksonville, Alabama on the campus of Jacksonville State University.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Buckhorn (3-1) is led by third-year head coach, Keith Henderson. Henderson began his high school coaching career at Sparkman High School in 1999 and was the Senators coach until 2002. After leaving Sparkman, Henderson took eight years off and became the head coach of the Grissom Tigers in 2010, where his tenure was short and not-so-sweet as the Tigers went (1-9) in his only year at Grissom. Coach Henderson didn’t find his way to Buckhorn until 2017, when he took over as the Bucks head man, where he has been for three years since 2017. So far in 2019, the Bucks have a (3-1) record. They beat Madison County 35-21 in Week 1, lost to Florence 33-20 in Week 2, beat Hazel Green 36-35 in Week 3 and beat Albertville 24-7 a week ago. Wetumpka will look to halt the Bucks two-game win streak.

What’s After This?

Next week Wetumpka will play their home opener vs. Prattville While Buckhorn will host Sparkman.

Inside the Series:

Wetumpka and Buckhorn have only met once before in 2018 with Wetumpka running away with things 23-7 on September 20, 2018 at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.

Can they do it again? Kickoff is set for 7pm Thursday night at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium on the campus of Jacksonville State University.