Top 30 at Jordan-Hare – #19 Tennessee (2003)
How I Remember It: This game was one of the loudest that I remember in my 25+ year Jordan-Hare history. Auburn was in the middle of its disappointing 2003 season, and if I remember correctly, Tennessee came in ranked in the top-10. Besides a late comeback by the Casey Clausen-led Vols, Auburn pretty much dominated the whole game. Well, they at least dominated long enough to get a good lead that would hold to the end.
I sat in the same spot that I sat for the loss to Ole Miss that made #28 on the list. I remember a pass to Ben Obomanu in the left corner of my endzone. I remember a few feelings of “man, how are we beating them this bad?”. I remember a few thoughts that my recently deceased grandfather was somehow making it happen.
I believe there was a pretty big stop at the end to keep the Vols from tying, but I don’t remember for sure, so let’s see.
What Really Happened: Auburn was 2-2, and had dropped from their high preseason rankings after their two, touchdown-less, opening season losses. Tennessee was 4-0 and ranked #7 in the nation.
Auburn took their opening drive 80-yards and scored on a 6-yard run by Ronnie Brown. On their next possession, Jason Campbell threw a 29-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the endzone to Obomanu, like I had remembered.
The Auburn defense held Tennessee in check for most of the first half, but the Vols would drive 85 yards just before halftime to score with less than a minute remaining in the 2nd quarter. Auburn led 14-7 at halftime.
Cadillac scored on a 1-yard run on Auburn’s first possession of the 2nd half to give the Tigers a 21-7 lead. Jason Campbell then completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Cole Bennett on the 2nd play of the 4th quarter to put Auburn up 28-7.
That’s when the near-comeback led by the “Iceman” began.
Clausen would throw for a touchdown on each of the Vols’ next two possessions bringing the score to 28-21 with just over seven minutes left in the game.
Auburn then took six minutes to drive down to the Tennessee 29-yard line, but with a chance to seal the win, John Vaughn missed a 46-yard field goal with just over a minute to play.
The Vols then drove down to the Auburn 30-yard line, thanks to a 21-yard completion on 4th-and-15, but with 1:04 remaining in the game, Carlos Rogers intercepted a pass to end the threat.
The Tigers had beaten the #7 Vols 28-21.
Fun Fact: This was the 11th consecutive game in the series that featured at least one team ranked in the top-10 nationally.
Why did I pick this game? As I said earlier, this was one of the loudest games that I remember at Jordan-Hare. The atmosphere was electric as Auburn took the early lead on the highly ranked Vols. The defense played great and the offense scored more touchdowns in one quarter than they had in the first two games of the season. The win over a top-10 doesn’t hurt either.
Play of the Game: Carlos Rogers’s interception with a minute to play sealed the win for Auburn.
Player of the Game: Cadillac ran the ball 36 times for 185 yards and a touchdown against the team he had previously committed to coming out of high school. That’s pretty strong.
Quote of the Game: “This is probably the best job we’ve done on offense in the last two years.” – Tommy Tuberville
Game Story: ESPN
You can view the rest of the 2020 edition of this list here.