The trend continued in 2001. Coming off a 26-24 homefield loss to Georgia, the Vols got a big touchdown late from Travis Stephens and bounced Bama 35-24 in Tuscaloosa.
''There were about three holding penalties the refs didn't call,'' Vol offensive tackle Will Ofenheusle recalled. ''We were lucky to get Travis in there.... That kind of turned our season around.''
Indeed. In fact, beating Bama ignited 7-0 stretch runs in both 2000 and 2001.
''The Alabama game's been a good point in our season,'' Ofenheusle said. ''Hopefully, history won't change.''
So, for a Tennessee team that was projected to be a national title contender but now limps along at 4-2 overall and 1-2 in SEC play, this may be the perfect time to face the Crimson Tide.
As Ofenheusle noted: ''We have a lot of motivation going into this game -- to kind of get our season going in the right direction.''