There were some intriguing moments in 1987, a campaign that ended up 10-2-1, first season since 1972 with 10 wins.
Darrin Miller grabbed a fumbled pitch and lumbered goalward in the season opener against Iowa. It took a while, even with a number of Vols catching up and leading the convoy. On the ABC telecast, Keith Jackson said something about the “aches and pains” catching up with Darrin as he made his way down the field.
Against California, Tennessee led by a prohibitive margin late in the game when Cal finally scored. The play so affected Cal radio announcer Joe Starkey that he proclaimed that the Cal score “had silenced the large crowd here at Neyland Stadium.”
Not quite, but it was a great line. Nothing like a little hyperbole behind the mike.
When Mississippi State higher-ups failed to cue the pre-game invocation in a game at Starkville, one writer wrote that it “obvious that the Bulldogs on the field didn’t have a prayer.” They didn’t. The final was 38-10.
The Vols had a yeoman-like goal line stand to save a 24-22 win at Kentucky. Mike Whitehead, seemingly headed for obscurity, made the key play on Mark Higgs on fourth down in the shadow of the Vol goal.
Tennessee rallied from a 28-3 deficit in the second quarter to defeat Vanderbilt 38-36. The Vols came back by sticking with the running game and throwing enough passes to keep the defense honest.
William Howard, playing his best in his senior season, and Reggie Cobb led the way. Howard turned blocker and helped make Cobb’s rookie season a successful one.
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014
P.S. So, Megan Venable thought her grandfather, “Big Sam,” was in the famed picture shown in Sam’s story. It was, in actuality, Gen. Neyland, as Sam so cogently pointed out.
Others have wondered about Gen. Neyland. One player, probably, Jamal Lewis, said Neyland was in the Civil War, while another, seeing Neyland’s picture in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center dressed in blue work clothes, wondered why there was a picture of the janitor so prominently displayed in the main entrance.
So many stories, so little time.