In the long history of Tennessee football, there are those moments that remain firmly fixed in the memory banks, memories that come to mind immediately when the great games over the years are discussed, such as the 1939 Alabama game, the 1951 Texas game in the Cotton Bowl, the 1986 Miami game in the Sugar Bowl, and, without a doubt, the 1982 Alabama game.
When a team has a long losing streak to another team, the game that breaks the streak is always important, and the Alabama game that season offers a prime example. Alabama jumped to the lead, saw the Vols rally, and had a comeback of their own foiled in the final seconds. The Tennessee crowd was never louder when tailback Chuck Coleman expanded a seven-point lead to 14 with a TD run covering 35 yards.
Given Alabama’s domination of the series, hearts may have grown faint when the Tide headed toward the north goal in the waning minutes, looking to break Vol fans’ hearts again, but Lee Jenkins and Mike Terry etched their names into the history books with a tipped pass (by Jenkins) and the oskie (by Terry). It shows something about the passage of time that Lee’s son, Ryan, is a freshman on campus this season.
It was the start of a four-game win streak over the Tide, and, sadly, it would be the last time Vol fans would see Bear Bryant on the Alabama side of the field. Bryant stepped down Dec. 15, 1982, and died Jan. 26, 1983, at Druid City Hospital in Tuscaloosa.
It’s been a long time, more than 30 years, but the memories are as fresh as if it happened yesterday.
Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013
TOMORROW: Another streak-breaker, the 1995 Alabama game, Peyton Manning to Joey Kent for 80 yards and a score on the game’s first play.