Knoxville (WVLT) -- A few hours after the celebration on the field, the entire team returned to campus in Knoxville, where some fans were awaiting the team's return.
About 40 fans were there to welcome the Vols home with chants and cheers.
The team left for Lexington with a purpose and returned as SEC East champs.
Coach Fulmer's message to the fans was thanks for the support, but the journey isn’t over.
Meanwhile, not all fans could make the trip to Lexington, so some of them had their eyes glued to the TV’s at various restaurants and bars such as Ray's Entertainment Sports Grill in West Knoxville.
Right after the game they were saying they had just seen a game they would never forget.
Those fans had confidence and many had no doubt that the big orange would pull it out.
"I'm exhausted and my throats almost gone,” said Jovan Jones, a UT fan. “I'm a pretty tired cat right now."
Jones and other UT fans screamed their hearts out, but like many, thought UT had it in the Kentucky Wildcats in the bag following the first play of the game.
"I thought it was going to be easy sailing, but in the SEC now you can't overlook anybody," said Jones.
Four overtimes had Orange and White fans as white as ghosts.
"I was nervous and I was apprehensive," said Sharon Bishop. “My heart was pounding and pounding and pounding."
But the final score of 52-50 had them jumping up and down all over Big Orange County.
"I think that we are, so to speak, to be reckoned with and I think we proved a point tonight that we are a very good team,” said Jones.
And for the third time this decade, the Vols are headed for the SEC East Championship game.
"What more could you ask for?" said Mitch Lovette.
For fans it's the end 9-3 season that started with big losses against California and Florida.
"I'm sure anyone you'd ask, if you said we got a chance to play for the SEC championship, nobody would've believed it,” Lovette said, “but he we are."
And after the nearly five hour battle on the field fans had opinions on what they had just seen. .
"It was absolutely the best game I've ever seen," said Bishop.
"They better be ready for us, because the Orange and White are coming!" exclaimed Jones.
And the Volunteer spirit was shining as the fans feel ready for another win.
That win would come next week as the Vols head to Atlanta to take on LSU for the SEC Championship, and an automatic bid to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
The SEC Championship starts at 4:00 PM next Saturday and can be seen on WVLT Volunteer TV.
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