California Nightmare

By: Wes Boling Email
By: Wes Boling Email

PASADENA, Calif. (WVLT) -- For three quarters, Tennessee was in control against UCLA but couldn't find a way to close the deal.

In the fourth stanza, the Bruins broke the Vols' hearts and surprised the nation.

Tennessee allowed a late touchdown drive, then missed a 34-yard field goal in overtime to lose 27-24 to UCLA Monday at the Rose Bowl.

To make matters worse, it was a UCLA team without its top two quarterbacks and a number of other key starters, a team considered a vast underdog by almost every pundit.

Jonathan Crompton struggled to find any kind of rhythm, completing only 19 of 41 passes for 189 yards and an interception. UCLA third-string-turned-starter Kevin Craft struggled mightily during the first three quarters, but took control in the fourth, finishing with 259 yards through the air and going 6-for-6 on the game-winning drive, which gave UCLA a 24-21 lead with 22 seconds left.

But the Vols scrambled, with Crompton putting the Vols into field goal range. Lincoln tied the game with time expiring, booting a 47-yard field goal to notch the score at 24 and send the game to overtime.

UCLA made a field goal on its overtime possession, but Lincoln and the Vols were unable to match it, as the sophomore kicker's attempt refused to curve inside the goal post, missing wide left to hand the Vols their second all-time overtime loss.

Arian Foster led the Vols on the ground with 96 yards on 13 carries, and Montario Hardesty complemented the performance with 66 yards of his own and two touchdowns, one of which gave Tennessee a 21-17 lead with 1:54 left.

But Craft and the Bruins responded confidently, marching down the field until a two-yard touchdown pass gave UCLA its first lead since the first quarter.

The Vols (0-1) lost their second-straight season-opener, both of which occurred on the West Coast. UCLA (1-0) gave new head coach Rick Neuheisel a win in his debut at his alma mater.

Tennessee will lick its wounds next Saturday before hosting UAB Sept. 13.
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Daniel Lincoln tied the game with time expiring, booting a 47-yard field goal to notch the score at 24 and send the game to overtime.

Lincoln and the Vols drove from their own 43 down to the UCLA 30, after surrendering a touchdown pass to fall behind for the first time since the first quarter.

Tennessee will play defense first in the extra period.

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Montario Hardesty ran 20 yards for the go-ahead score with just over two minutes left in the game, putting the Vols ahead 21-17 and capping a clutch 67-yard drive.

The Vols converted two third downs and a fourth down to keep the drive alive.

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UCLA running back Raymond Carter ran for a three-yard touchdown to give UCLA a 17-14 lead with 6:51 left in the game, capping an impressive 80-yard drive in which quarterback Kevin Craft strung together his most effective plays of the game.

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UCLA kicker Kai Forbath made a 41-yard field goal to get UCLA within 4 points late in the third quarter.

The kick capped a 10-play, 34-yard drive that saw UCLA signal-caller Kevin Craft carry himself with more poise than he did in the first half.

The trifecta was UCLA's first offensive score of the night.

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UCLA fans booed quarterback Kevin Craft as he left the field following a four-interception first half against Tennessee.

DeAngelo Willingham, Demetrice Morley, Eric Berry and Nevin McKenzie all tallied first-half picks, with McKenzie returning his interception for a late touchdown to give the Vols a 14-7 lead at halftime in the Rose Bowl.

Jonathan Crompton suffered from first-game cobwebs, throwing for 119 yards and an interception on 11-of-23 passing in the first half. Montario Hardesty scored the Vols' lone offensive touchdown, an 11-yard run. He leads the Vols with 38 yards on six carries.

UCLA's lone score came when the Bruins blocked a Chad Cunningham punt and returned it for a touchdown. It marks the second straight year the Vols surrendered a special-teams touchdown during the first quarter of the season; Cal's DeSean Jackson returned a punt against Tennessee in the first quarter last year.

Daniel Lincoln missed two long field goals in the first half, a 52- and 55-yarder.

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Montario Hardesty ran 11 yards for Tennessee's first touchdown of the season, capping an 80-yard drive to tie the game at 7 early in the second quarter.

The touchdown jaunt came a play after Crompton found receiver Josh Briscoe streaking down the sideline for a 41-yard pass play. The six-play drive featured 51 passing yards and 39 on the ground.

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UCLA blocked a Chad Cunningham punt and returned it for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead over Tennessee with 1:15 left in the first quarter at the Rose Bowl.

The Vols went three-and-out on the drive. It marks the second straight year the Vols surrendered a special-teams touchdown during the first quarter of the season; Cal's DeSean Jackson returned a punt against Tennessee in the first quarter last year.

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Kicker Daniel Lincoln missed a 51-yard field goal attempt wide right, ending the second Tennessee drive of the night and keeping the game scoreless.

Crompton was 4-of-6 for 41 yards on the drive, and Arian Foster ran four times for 10 yards.
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DeAngelo Willingham intercepted a Kevin Craft pass and returned it to the Tennessee 15.

Craft was 4-of-6 for 46 yards on the drive, including two first-down tosses.

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Jonathan Crompton fumbled a third-down snap, bringing an end to Tennessee's first drive of the season and bringing on Chad Cunningham, who hit a solid punt, giving UCLA the ball at its own 29.

The Vols started the game with a short screen pass to Arian Foster, which netted 9 yards. A second-down pass to Lucas Taylor was overthrown, bringing up the failed third-and-short.

The Sports Overtime team wants to hear your thoughts on the game. Post your comments, and they'll show up at the bottom of the page.


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