“A Question and Answer”

QUESTION: What happened 16 years ago tonight at the Georgia Dome?

ANSWER: The SEC title came home for the first time since 1990, but it wasn’t easy. Marcus Nash scored the game-tying touchdown on a 79-yard pass, and Jeff Hall knocked home the deciding extra point, as the Vols huffed and puffed their way past Auburn, 30-29.

The Vols trailed the Tigers 20-10 at the half, but some inspirational halftime leadership from Al Wilson helped turn the game around. The grand prize was a trip to the Orange Bowl to play Nebraska in Tom Osborne’s final game on the Husker sideline.

“Wilson didn’t pull punches,” Marvin West wrote in “Tales of Tennessee.” “He named names. He called for the elected leaders, Peyton Manning and Leonard Little, to do more and better things.”

Fred White, a tough safety who was a fan favorite, recounted a story of what happened at the half when the Vols trailed 20-10.” Al Wilson said, ‘I’ll play for you if you’ll play for me.’

“He said if your teammate makes a mistake, you play for him. If you make a mistake, your teammate will play for you.’ We used that attitude in the second half. We never got down on ourselves.”

That might be the “G-rated” version of what happened during halftime, but you get the idea.

Friday, Dec. 6, 2013