Banks shows up vs. Bama

Tennessee receiver James Banks was involved in two of the most interesting plays of Saturday's game at Alabama ... and he finished each of them on his face.

The first saw Banks fall -- untouched -- to the turf just as the Vols were snapping the football. He later explained that he was leaning so much that he was about to go offsides, so he turned sideways to avert a penalty, lost his balance and fell.

''I got about three different versions of what happened,'' UT head man Phillip Fulmer said. ''James told he fell trying to keep from going offsides. It was the silliest thing on film I've ever seen.''

Whereas Banks was untouched on that bizarre play, he was hammered on a subsequent play. After having a high pass deflect off his hands on a crossing route, he took three full strides before being leveled by an unidentified Tide defender. Incredibly, the cheap shot went unpenalized. No ''late-hit'' penalty was assessed.

''I'm not supposed to comment on officiating,'' Fulmer said. ''But that looked pretty late. It WAS late. When I asked the official about it, he said he didn't see it.''

Banks lay on the ground for perhaps 30 seconds following the wicked collision. When he got to his feet, however, he would extract some vengeance.

Two plays later, he caught a five-yard pass from Casey Clausen that tied the score at 34-all in the second overtime. On the very next play -- the first of Overtime No. 3 -- he caught a 25-yard bomb from Clausen to give the Vols a 40-34 lead. Banks then closed the game's scoring by catching the two-point conversion pass that sealed UT's 51-43 victory.

Banks also scored on a 25-yard quarterback draw, switching places with Clausen (who lined up as a wide receiver on the play).

All told, Banks scored 20 points -- one TD rushing, two TDs receiving and a two-point conversion pass. That's the most points a Vol has scored since Jamal Lewis put up 24 against Kentucky in 1997.


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