Skinner vs. Mears: Five Big Wins

Between 1963 and 1976, Vanderbilt and Tennessee played 28 basketball games. Vandy won 11 times and Tennessee won 17 times. These were the rivalry seasons of Roy Skinner and Ray Mears.

Coach Skinner was an advocate of fast-paced racehorse basketball. His teams routinely averaged over 80 points per game. With a shot clock and three-point shot, many of his squads could have averaged in excess of 100 points per game. This style of ball made Vanderbilt a household name across the country and attracted several blue-chip recruits to Nashville. One of Skinner's recruiting classes was chosen tops in the land.

Mears, on the other hand, was a proponent of slow-down methodical basketball. His teams used the 1-3-1 offense and were patient taking only open shots. Defensively, he relied heavily on the 1-3-1 zone and mixed it with some man-to-man and 1-3-1 zone trap defenses. Unlike several other zone defenses, Mears placed a guard on the back line of the defense and had him chase the ball baseline to baseline. A trick of Mears was to allow the baseline drive and then trap with his big man in the middle. It worked wonders for years until opponents gave up trying to drive the baseline.

Eventually Mears realized he couldn't recruit the top athletes to Knoxville playing this style, and he changed his philosophy. Once he had Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, and Mike Jackson, he switched to a fast-paced wheel offense, and the Vols went from the slowest team in the SEC to the fastest.

Here are five great games between these two great rivals.

1964-65

The 1964-65 season saw Vanderbilt and Tennessee both pass Kentucky in the battle for conference supremacy; pundits tabbed the two schools as co-favorites to win the SEC. The Vols had swept the Commodores the year before, and odds makers were saying they would beat Vandy in Nashville in the conference opener. Tennessee had started 7-1 and led the nation in points surrendered at 53 per game. Vandy had stubbed its toe in December, losing back-to-back road games against Virginia Tech and North Carolina. A resounding blowout over Louisville in the Sugar Bowl Tournament championship had improved Vandy's record to 8-2.

Tennessee had two big muscle men playing inside. Starter 6-08 Austin "Red" Robbins and top reserve 6-06 Howard Bayne both later played in the American Basketball Association with Robbins becoming a multiple ABA All-Star. Rounding out the front court was 6-04 sophomore Ron Widby, who had a cup of coffee in the ABA before moving on to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, and 1965 All-American A.W. Davis, "The Rutledge Rifle". While at Knoxville's Rutledge High School, Davis set the then all-time single season TSSAA scoring mark, scoring 35 points a game and breaking the previous TSSAA mark set by perhaps the greatest player in SEC history, Bailey Howell. The Vols started shooting guard Larry McIntosh and point guard Pat Robinette in the backcourt.

Vanderbilt was led by Clyde Lee at center, Snake Grace at power forward, Wayne Taylor at small forward, Roger Schurig at shooting guard, and John Ed Miller at the point. Keith Thomas, Wayne Calvert, Kenny Gibbs, Jerry Southwood, and Garner Petrie (subbing for normal backup center Kenny Green who was out with a knee injury) made up the next five.

Coach Skinner decided that Tennessee's guards would not be allowed to dribble the ball up the floor at a leisurely pace and lull Vandy into a coma-like state. He ordered his troops to press full court in an attempt to speed up the game. Vandy's guards were instructed not to reach in and try to steal the ball; the goal was to force McIntosh and Robinette to speed up and play at Vandy's pace.

In the first half, Tennessee played at Vandy's pace and looked quite good doing so. Davis looked like an All-American as he kept the Vols ahead most of the first 20 minutes. At the break, Tennessee led by three, 37-34. Tennessee looked strong in the first 10 minutes of the final half. Robbins and McIntosh joined Davis, as the Vols built on their lead. The margin approached double figures, with the orange and white pushing the cushion to nine points at 63-54 and less than nine minutes showing on the clock.

At this point, Skinner took out his starting guards and inserted Southwood and Thomas. They would play the rest of the way. Skinner informed Southwood to get the ball to Lee. The press had only forced a few turnovers and had surrendered a few easy baskets up to now, but it was becoming evident that it had begun to tire the Vols, who were not used to this pace. For the next four minutes, Tennessee went ice cold, and Lee saw to it that they only took one shot.

On the first possession following the substitution, Lee grabbed an offensive rebound, put a move on Robbins, and beat him to the bucket for an easy two. In doing so, he realized he could beat the slower Vol center. A moment later, Lee repeated the move on the opposite side of the rim for another basket. The nine-point lead was quickly cut to five.

Following another Vol misfire and rebound by Lee, Vandy worked the ball in the half court. Southwood drove down the side and spotted Lee moving to the high post. The backup point guard fired a quick pass to Big Clyde, who was open from 14 feet. Swish! The score was now 63-60.

Bayne was fouled in the middle, and Mears chose for him to shoot the single foul shot (the rule prior to 1972 gave the offense's coach the option of one foul shot or the ball out of bounds for the first six personal fouls). Bayne connected to make the score 64-60. Southwood quickly brought the ball up the floor and spotted Lee moving up from the block. He passed to Lee, who once again wheeled around Robbins for an easy lay-up. The score was now 64-62 Tennessee.

With the Vols now double-teaming Lee inside, Thomas stepped to the forefront. First, he hit from about 18 feet to tie the score at 64-64. One possession later, he fired from about 16 feet and hit to give the black and gold their first lead since early in the first half.

Davis finally broke the long field goal drought with a short jumper to tie the game at 66 all. Lee maneuvered under the basket with two Vols shadowing him. Southwood spotted an opening and fired the ball through it. Lee took the pass under the basket and quickly moved over just enough to fire an underhand lob to the goal. Bingo! The sold out crowd came to their feet on the great play by Big Clyde. Vandy once again led by two at 68-66. Vandy's pressure forced a Tennessee turnover, and Skinner took time out to order the stall with three minutes to go. Tennessee chose not to pressure the Commodore guards who held the ball for a full minute. Just as Mears called for his troops to come out and attack the ball, Lee cut quickly around from behind Robbins and once again found himself wide open. Southwood fired a perfect fastball, and Clyde hit another easy lay-up off the glass to give Vandy a four-point lead at 70-66.

After that bucket, Tennessee was forced to foul. To this point in the game, the Commodores had taken 16 foul shots and hit only half. When it counted most, Vandy hit seven of eight at the charity stripe. Southwood hit four in a row to sew up the ballgame, and Vandy won 77-72.

Lee was brilliant, scoring 30 points for the first time in his Commodore career. Down the stretch, he hit his last six shot attempts. He also hauled in 19 rebounds. Miller was the only other double figure scorer for Vandy; he had 11 in about 23 minutes of play. Davis led the Vols with 27 points and 13 boards.

1966-67

Tennessee came to Memorial Gym in January 1967 leading the SEC with a 2-0 conference record. Vanderbilt and Florida had each lost one game and were in a logjam with Auburn and Mississippi State tied for second. Kentucky had lost their first two SEC games, and at 5-5 overall, the Cats were headed to Adolph Rupp's worst season at 13-13.

This was Ray Mears' best team to date. Big seven footer Tom Boerwinkle was the difference in past Tennessee teams and this edition. He played the middle spoke in the 1-3-1 zone defense and dominated the low post on offense. Joining Boerwinkle in the frontcourt was high postman Tom Hendrix and all-American wing Ron Widby, averaging almost 25 points a game. Two sophomores, Bill Justus and Bill Hann, made up the starting backcourt. Mears rarely went more than seven or eight deep, and his starters all averaged over 30 minutes of action per game. Wes Coffman was the only sub that saw considerable action.

Vanderbilt was not expected to contend for the SEC title with this squad, but found themselves at 10-2 and ranked 10th in the polls. Coach Skinner's starting five was not much bigger than Rupp's Runts of the year before and John Wooden's small five in 1964. Starting at center was 6-06 Kenny Gibbs. 6-04 Bob Warren and 6-03 Bo Wyenadt started at forwards, while 6-04 Tom Hagan and 6-01 Jerry Southwood started at guards. Like the Vols, this Commodore squad also usually went only seven deep with 6-00 Kenny Campbell and 6-07 Gene Lockyear being the two sub contributors.

Coming into this match, Tennessee led the nation in points per game allowed with 53.7, while Vandy was in the top five in points per game at 88.3; all five Commodore starters plus Campbell averaged scoring in double figures.

Tennessee, led by Widby, started the game with a hot hand. Widby fired eight shots in the first 10 minutes of the game and connected on six. His 12 quick points gave Tennessee a seven-point lead at 18-11. Meanwhile, Vandy had committed six turnovers trying to pass into the middle of the Tennessee zone.

At this point, Skinner called for Wyenadt to defend Widby in a tight, man-to-man style. Widby couldn't get open and would score only one more basket in the half. Meanwhile, Skinner inserted Campbell into the game, and the springy little guard lit the spark that flamed the Vandy offense. The guard from Oak Ridge scored nine points in the final 10 minutes of the half. Vandy went on a 9-0 run to take the lead at 20-18 and never relinquished it the rest of the night. The hot hand continued to the halftime buzzer, as the Goldmen hit 16 of 28 to take a 31-27 lead into the locker room.

During the halftime intermission, Coach Skinner noted to his players that the left side of Tennessee's zone (Widby's side) was not adjusting well to the penetration and pass. He ordered his players to penetrate the seam between the point guard spot (Hann) and Widby, pass to the baseline, and cut to the left elbow.

Southwood went out in the second half and penetrated the seam between Hann and Widby. He passed to Hagan who cut from the baseline. Hagan returned the ball quickly to Southwood who had cut to a wide open left elbow. Southwood canned the 16-foot jumper. This happened four more times in the next 12 minutes. When Tennessee started keeping Widby outside, Hagan kept the ball and drove the baseline. This left the less mobile Boerwinkle to stop Hagan one-on-one, and the seven-foot pivot fouled out trying to stop this move. On foul number five, Hagan had sunk a little runner and hit the foul shot to put Vandy up by double digits.

Meanwhile, Widby still couldn't free himself from Wyenadt's hounding. It wasn't until there were four minutes left that Widby was able to start scoring again. That's because Wyenadt left the game with a sprained ankle. By that time, Vandy led 60-48, and the game was over. The Commodores withstood a Vol run when Widby scored five quick points, but Vandy held on to win 65-59. In the final 20 minutes of action, Vandy made 11 field goals; ten of those were from the exploited left side of the Volunteer zone.

Leading the charge for Vandy were Wyenadt and Southwood with 13 points apiece. Warren added 12, 10 of those in the first half. Campbell scored only one foul shot in the second half to finish with 10. Hagan scored seven and Lockyear added six, all 13 of those coming in the second half. For Tennessee, Widby finished with 23, but only six points came with Wyenadt guarding him up close. Boerwinkle scored 13 prior to picking up his fifth foul, and Justus added 10.

1967-68

This televised game in February of 1968 featured two top 10 teams. Second place in the SEC Tennessee, at 9-3 and trailing Kentucky by a half-game, came into the contest ranked number seven overall at 16-4. Third place Vanderbilt was ranked number nine in both polls at 8-4 in the SEC and 16-4 overall, trailing Kentucky by one and a half games. This was a must win for the Commodores, who still had a game remaining against the Wildcats.

Tennessee returned four starters from the previous season's conference championship team. Gone was Ron Widby. Tom Boerwinkle, Tom Hendrix, Bill Hann, and Bill Justus had all improved, while newcomer Bobby Croft made up on offense for his lack of defense. Croft, at 6-10, joined the seven-foot Boerwinkle and 6-05 Hendrix to give Tennessee the best frontline in the conference. Hendrix played defense like John Havlicek, as he was responsible for more opponent turnovers than any guard in the league.

Vanderbilt returned three starters from the year before in Bob Warren, Bo Wyenadt, and Tom Hagan. Perry Wallace started the season at center for Vanderbilt with Kenny Campbell starting at the point guard position. However, Wallace hit a slump in the middle of the season, while top sub Bob Bundy emerged to start at center. Bundy had come from Virginia as one of the top five high school recruits in the nation (a recruiting class that included Lew Alcindor, Terry Driscoll, Neal Walk, and Jo Jo White.) In fact, Bundy was considered the prize recruit over Hagan when they came to Vandy. After a season in a half riding the bench and being the first Commodore ever to reside in Coach Skinner's doghouse, Bundy began to play up to his potential in late January of his junior year. He was the best offensive threat Vandy had, even better than Hagan and Warren. He could hit from outside and maneuver inside for open shots. At season's end, he would own the all-time best single season field goal percentage mark at better than 63%.

In losing to Tennessee by a deuce in Knoxville earlier in the season, Tennessee's big Boerwinkle had dominated with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Coach Skinner knew his team would have to find a way to equalize the giant and also stop the equally big Croft. His game plan was to play a sinking, floating man-to-man defense. Warren, Wyenadt, and Bundy would be responsible for keeping the ball out of the middle, while Hagan and Campbell would be left to do their best on the outside shooting of Hann and Justus.

The teams traded two baskets and a foul shot in the opening minutes of action. With the score tied at five, Warren skied over Boerwinkle to put back a missed shot and give the Commodores the lead at 7-5. The overflowing crowd went wild, and the electricity rubbed off on the black and gold. Vandy would never relinquish the lead from that point.

Once in front by a few points, Bundy took over at the offensive end. He spotted up at the foul line and took a pass from Campbell. Neither Boerwinkle nor Hendrix put up a serious defense, so Bundy fired from 15 feet and hit nothing but net. Once a defense let Bundy relax, it was lights out. Big Bob proceeded to get open from the outside and kept firing successfully. Tennessee's goose was cooked. After Bundy picked up his third foul, Wallace relieved him, and to everybody's surprise, the 6-05 sophomore ended his slump. Tennessee had to adjust its 1-3-1 zone defense, and then Warren found himself open on the inside. All Commodore cylinders were operating to perfection, and the Vols found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tennessee made some runs to cut the lead to as little as four or five, but Vandy responded every time with a run. The Commodores led 36-28 at the break, and they weren't done piling on the points.

If it wasn't for Justus, Tennessee would have found themselves down by 15 or more points as the second half started. Mears knew Justus couldn't shoot the Vols back in the game and ordered Tennessee to get the ball inside to Boerwinkle and Croft. When the two posts tried to shoot, they found themselves taking ill-advised attempts. Warren was there to retrieve most of those missed shots, and Vandy ran their patented fast break. The lead quickly rose to double digits. Justus and Hendrix connected on multiple jumpers to bring the Vols back to within four points, but a technical foul assessed against Tennessee assistant coach Stu Aberdeen ended the Vol Rally. Vandy converted the free throw, and then scored to move back up by seven. From there, the lead increased to double digits once again. Vandy appeared headed to a 20-plus point victory, when Bundy fouled out with a few minutes to go. Coach Skinner also took out Warren, Hagan, and Campbell and sent in four reserves. Tennessee rallied to cut the final margin to 12. Vandy won 75-63.

Bundy led the team with 22 points on 9-14 shooting (most of those shots from 15 to 20 feet out). Warren, the inside force scored 16 points and pulled down a game high 11 rebounds. Hagan contributed 13, while Wallace found his shot once again and scored 11 off the bench. The defense on Boerwinkle and Croft forced them to shoot a combined 3 of 15. Justus kept the Vols from being blown away by scoring 21 points.

1972-73

The 1972-73 season produced a great conference championship race. Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt fought all the way to the finish to represent the league in the Mideast Regionals at Memorial Gymnasium. Vanderbilt lost close games on the road to hapless Auburn and Florida, and had been swept by Alabama. However, the Commodores had swept Kentucky and found themselves back in the thick of the race with two games to play. On the first Saturday in March, Tennessee led the SEC at 12-3. Kentucky was 12-4, Vandy was 11-5, and Alabama was swooning at 10-5. Tennessee came to Nashville looking to clinch a share of the conference crown, while Vandy faced elimination if they didn't win. Vandy needed to win out and hope Auburn could upset Kentucky, while Kentucky beat Tennessee. Then, the big four would finish tied for first and force a four-team playoff. It almost happened, but a late Auburn swoon allowed Kentucky to win and take the crown.

Now, let's return to Nashville for the first Saturday in March. Tennessee came to town for an afternoon televised game. The Vols had beaten the 'Dores in Knoxville by 10 points, but since then Coach Roy Skinner had altered his starting lineup. 7-04 center Steve Turner had replaced 6-08 Ray Maddux. Turner had dropped out of school after his junior season in 1971, but he asked Skinner to take him back in 1973. Turner's defense and rebounding improved a great deal over the course of the season, and by mid-February, he was right at the top among the league's big men, leading the league (unofficially) in blocked shots.

Joining Turner in the starting lineup were freshmen forwards Jeff Fosnes and Butch Feher and junior guards Terry Compton and Jan van Breda Kolff. Maddux joined Lee Fowler, Bill Ligon, Joe Ford, and Chris Schweer in reserve, as former starter Rod Freeman was done for the year after never recovering from a broken foot.

Tennessee countered with a seven-foot center of their own in Lenny Kosmalski. 6-06 Larry Robinson was the other big man, while a trio of quick guards rounded out the starting five. Mike Edwards was a streaky outside shooter, while John Snow and Rodney Woods were quite good all-around players. On the bench for the Vols were Lloyd Richardson, Wayne Tomlinson, and Eddie Voelker. Coach Mears had begun to turn loose the reins on this Volunteer team, as Tennessee had actually begun to play a little up-tempo.

Coach Skinner, with the aid of top defensive assistant Ron Bargatze, threw a major surprise at the Vols. After playing straight man-to-man defense for most of the season, Vandy sprung John Wooden's famous UCLA 2-2-1 zone press at the Vols with Clair Bee's bell weather Long Island University 1-2-2 zone defense in the half-court. Tennessee was not prepared to face either defense. They found some holes in the zone and exploited them, but the Vol players never felt comfortable. Several times, Woods dribbled into a trap and forced Tennessee out of their offense.

Meanwhile, the full-court defense awakened the Commodores. As often happens when a team plays 94 feet of basketball, they win the hustle battle. That's exactly what happened, as the Commodores fast break, absent as of late, returned with several baskets.

The first half found both teams getting open and hitting their shots. Kosmalski used his patented half hook, while Edwards had the hot perimeter hand for Tennessee. Fosnes and Compton matched the two Vols with hot hands, and it looked for a while like there would be little use for rebounders. Both teams went well into the half shooting over 60%.

The teams cooled off only slightly, as Vandy went into the half with a tiny 41-40 lead. Turner had broken the tie with a foul shot in the final minute.

The press started to pay dividends in the second half. Tennessee's turnover count started to mount, and Vandy ran the fast break with Feher getting multiple crip shots. Vandy's inside defense stopped the Vols during a crucial stretch, and Turner pulled down five rebounds in about three minutes. The Commodores' tiny lead bulged to double figures and then up to 16 points at 81-65 with two minutes to go. 45 seconds later, Steve Turner picked up his fifth foul. When it came time to take out Turner, the crowd roar was deafening. In what remains the biggest amount of applause ever for a Commodore (more than Clyde Lee, Will Perdue, or Matt Freije), hundreds of fans saw tears come to their eyes, as the 7-04 center walked off the floor for the final time. Just two years earlier, Turner had been booed off the same floor. What a difference 24 months made.

Vandy held on to win 86-74 and give Kentucky the conference lead for the first time all year. The hot combo of Fosnes and Compton had combined for 19 of 30 shooting. Compton led with 25 points, while Fosnes was close behind with 24. Three other Commodores hit for double figures with Feher scoring a dozen, Turner adding 11, and VBK with 10. Turner led all players with 12 rebounds, many in the decisive stretch of the game. Edwards led Tennessee with 21 and Kosmalski had 20. Both teams shot over 50% for the afternoon. Tennessee hit 53%, while Vandy connected on a season's best 55%.

1975-76

The 1975-76 Vanderbilt-Tennessee game in Nashville was a turnabout game. Ray Mears' Vols were now the top offensive team in the league, while Roy Skinner's Commodores were more of a half-court team. The season started rather poorly for the Commodores. They lost to Southern Cal in the opener of the Vanderbilt Invitational, failing to win the final VIT. Home losses to UNC-Charlotte (led by Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell) and Nebraska and road losses to Michigan (who would advance to the finals) and Virginia Tech (coached by Don Devoe) left Vandy with a pre-conference record of 4-5. After losing at Alabama in the SEC opener, the Commodore record was 4-6. Roy Skinner was feeling the pressure just a little over one year after winning the SEC championship.

Come-from-behind overtime wins at Mississippi State and at home against Georgia evened the overall record at 6-6 and gave the 'Dores a 2-1 conference record. Vandy's starters included the "F-Troop." Jeff Fosnes, Butch Feher, and Joe Ford joined sophomore center John Sneed and sophomore guard Dickie Keffer. Senior and frequent starter Mike Moore was the sixth man, as the rest of the reserves (Carl Crain, Tim Thompson, Jay Lowenthal, Keith Page, and Neil Bemenderfer) saw little action unless the game was out of reach.

Tennessee was led by the "Ernie and Bernie Show." All-American forwards Ernie Grunfeld and Bernard King joined center Doug Ashworth and guards Mike Jackson and Johnny Darden as starters. Jackson, a 6-03 sharpshooter from Stratford High School in Nashville, was nearly as potent as the two all-Americans. This Vol contingent averaged close to 85 points a game and shot well over 50% from the field.

Coach Skinner's defensive game plan was to place the center (Sneed or Moore) down low and not guard Ashworth if he wasn't in the low post. Meanwhile Keffer would lay off Darden and allow him to take the outside jumper. Both Sneed/Moore and Keffer would then help out on King, Grunfeld, and Jackson, while the F-troop would guard them in a tight, man-to-man (Fosnes on King, Feher on Grunfeld, and Ford on Jackson). Keffer had practiced well against the Commodore subs version of Tennessee's 1-3-1 zone trap and was ready to run the offense, while Ford concentrated on playing the wing.

The flow of the game went in Vandy's favor from the outset. King controlled the tap, but the quick Keffer reached in and stole the ball. The 5-11 guard drove down the floor and hit a lay-up to put Vandy up 2-0. Tennessee would tie the game once, but Vandy held the lead for 39 and a half minutes.

Vandy was patient as Keffer worked the ball around the Big Orange zone. Tennessee started to rush their shots, and with King being forced farther outside to shoot, his accuracy waned. Ashworth scored some early baskets then lost his touch. Jackson hit early to keep the score close, then lost his touch and couldn't buy a bucket. Grunfeld hit when he got open, but Feher limited his opportunities. Vandy's first half lead stayed between three and seven points, with a couple of baskets by Grunfeld cutting the margin to 41-38 at the break.

In the second half, Sneed joined Ford and Fosnes as hot hands at the offensive end. Tennessee wasn't prepared for Sneed's offensive outburst. Meanwhile, the 6-09 center from Father Ryan High School began controlling the boards. With Jackson and King unable to score with any consistency, Vandy began pulling away. This was not the typical Vandy blowout over an opponent; it was done with patience and high offensive efficiency.

Late in the game, Sneed fouled out with Vandy up big. He pumped his fists skyward and the sellout crowd went wild. Vandy had not pulled off a major upset in two seasons, and the Commodore faithful were ready for a final play to erupt. King gave it to them. After another Commodore foul, the two teams began to align at the foul lane for the shots. Moore said something to King, who took offense with it. King threw an elbow at Moore right in front of referee Don Wedge. Wedge lifted his thumb, and 16,000 Vandy fans roared as the all-American from New York was tossed from the game. On his way out, King raised his right hand high and counted to one with his middle finger for the Commodore faithful in the north end zone. They were happy to see that his UT math classes had begun to pay off.

Vandy missed a couple of late free throws to allow Tennessee to cut the final margin to 11. The Commodores won 77-66. Four Goldmen hit for double figures. Ford led the way with 25 points. Fosnes had 23. Sneed recorded a double double with 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Keffer added 10 to go with his excellent handling of the Commodore offense.

Grunfeld scored 20 to lead the Vols, but that was seven points below his average. The rest of the Orange combined to hit only 41% of their shots. King scored 16 and Jackson added 18, but they took 34 shots between them. The two players left unguarded didn't hurt Vandy. Ashworth scored six early points and then only four additional in the final 32 minutes, while Darden took only one shot and missed.

The win propelled Vandy into a tie for first place at 3-1. In early February, Vandy was still in first place at 8-2 in the league. With two NCAA bids going to the SEC, Vandy needed to go 6-2 in the last eight games to gain one of the two spots. Tennessee, LSU, and Ole Miss had to be played on the road, while Kentucky, Florida, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Alabama had to come to Nashville. The schedule was quite favorable. Even taking in the possibility of a loss in Knoxville, the rest of the games looked winnable.

Vandy lost in Knoxville to fall to 8-3. The Commodores dismissed Kentucky, Auburn, and Florida at home to improve to 11-3, firmly holding on to second place. Tennessee lost to Alabama meaning a Vandy win against a weak LSU team in Baton Rouge would cause a three-way tie for first. The Commodores had clobbered LSU in Memorial scoring over 100 points. The Tigers were sky-high for revenge and upset Vandy. The Commodores couldn't recover and lost to Ole Miss two nights later to eliminate themselves from the race. After returning home to barely edge Mississippi State, the season concluded with a home game against Alabama. Vandy led the entire night before tiring late and losing in overtime. The next morning's newspaper headlines revealed that Roy Skinner had resigned as head coach. The glory days were over.

Note: Some information and statistics for this article came from the Nashville Tennessean, Nashville Banner, and Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Next: Big Wins over the Wildcats.


VandyMania.com Top Stories