Nov. 23, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Volunteers fell in dramatic fashion to Vanderbilt Saturday, 14-10 in front of 97,223 fans who came out to support the 27 Tennessee seniors appearing in their final home game at Neyland Stadium.
Vanderbilt, after initially being ruled short on a 4th-and-1 with 34 seconds remaining in the game, saw the spot of the ball overturned after review. The Commodores took advantage of the fresh set of downs as Maryville, Tenn., native Patton Robinette faked the handoff and ran for the game-winning, five-yard touchdown with just 16 seconds left in the ballgame.
Robinette was just 3-of-4 passing for 14 yards in the game, but rushed for 33 yards on eight carries including the game-winning touchdown run.
Vanderbilt's starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels finished 21-of-27 for 181 yards including a key 25-yard completion to Biletnikoff semifinalist Jordan Matthews to set up first and goal from the eight.
Matthews finished with 133 yards on a career-high 13 receptions. On his fourth catch of the night, Matthews became the SEC's all-time receptions leader.
For the Vols, Joshua Dobbs was 11-of-19 for 53 passing yards. Dobbs also rushed for 23 yards on 11 carries.
Senior running back Rajion Neal surpassed 2,000 career rushing yards after boasting 95 yards and one touchdown on the evening. Neal became the 14th Volunteer to rush for 2,000 yards while at Tennessee.
Tennessee forced Vanderbilt to a season-high four turnovers (three fumbles lost and one interception). Coming into the game, Vanderbilt had lost just two fumbles all season.
The loss clinches Tennessee's fourth consecutive losing season.
"You have 28 seniors who have given everything to this football program," said Butch Jones. "It is emotional because you put a lot of effort and work into it. I feel for these kids who have done everything we have asked of them.
"Unfortunately we came up short today. We have one more game left as a football team and a football program to get better. They are resilient and will come back but I feel for them because of all the things they have been through."
Tennessee took its only lead of the game at 10-7 on a 32-yard field goal by Michael Palardy which banked in off the left upright, 5:54 into the second half.
The Vols looked to add to their lead early in the fourth quarter. Dobbs rushed into the checkerboards but an illegal block in the back call negated what would have given Tennessee a 17-7 lead.
Three plays later, Palardy went out to attempt a 39-yard field goal. Instead, Palardy took the snap and threw an interception to Paris Head as Vanderbilt took over with 12 minutes left in regulation.
The first half saw the teams combine for five turnovers (three by Vanderbilt and two by the Vols) as the teams stood deadlocked at 7-7 after 30 minutes.
On the first play of the second quarter,Neal rushed in from five yards to tie the game at seven.
Vanderbilt jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a Jerron Seymour 4-yard TD rush up the middle with 6:09 left in the first quarter. The Commodores made good on KennyLadler's interception of Dobbs, on the freshman's first passing attempt of the game.
Tennessee wraps up its 2013 regular-season at Kentucky next Saturday night at 7 p.m. That game will air on ESPNU and can be heard on the Vol Network.