GoVolsXtra’s Mike Griffith captures the misery of the Vols’ game-losing drive:
“First-and-goal inside the 5, and it was going good,” UT left tackle Arron Sears said. “We definitely could have got it in.”
On first down at the 3, tight end Justin Reed raised out of his stance early. The penalty led to a spot at the 9, still first down.
Arian Foster was dropped a yard behind the line of scrimmage on the next play, setting up a second-and-goal.
Rick Clausen, scrambling right, appeared to have enough room to run close to the end zone, if not in it. Instead, Clausen chose to throw the ball away – from beyond the line of scrimmage – and UT was penalized another 5 yards and a loss of down.
Facing third-and-goal at the 15, offensive coordinator Randy Sanders called for a screen to fullback Cory Anderson. Anderson sprinted hard for the end zone, but Alabama linebacker Roman Harper got his helmet on the ball. Anderson fell forward as the ball squirted out of his hands and out of the back of the end zone, giving the Tide the ball back at the 20.
Meanwhile, left guard Rob Smith lay writhing on the ground with a rib contusion. The severity of the injury is not known.
“It was like a series of bad dreams,” Sears said.