Exiled to another city after my graduation from college, I had to mostly read about the exploits of the 1982 team from an out-of-town newspaper. But Thanksgiving would bring me home to Nashville for the holidays, and I knew that somehow, someway, I had to find a ticket for the season-ending meeting between Vanderbilt (7-3) and UT (7-3).
But the weather was horrible, and I couldn't find a single person who wanted to go sit in the wet and rain with me. I had no ticket. I ended up buying a single ticket from a UT fan (at face value) on Jess Neely Way. When I got inside... you guessed it... I was surrounded by UT fans. Many of them were drunk.
Tennessee took an early 7-0 lead, then Vandy tied it 7-7. Tennessee went up again 14-7, and Vanderbilt was driving late in the first half. A UT fan bet me $10 that Vanderbilt would not score again by halftime. They did. He never paid me.
The rain and cold were miserable, but Whit Taylor engineered Vanderbilt to its first lead in the second half. Spreading the ball out between receivers Allama Matthews, Wayman Buggs, Phil Roach and freshman Arnaz Perry, Vanderbilt was burning the UT secondary time after time. Tennessee tied it at 21-21, but Taylor hit a long bomb late in the fourth to put VU in scoring position. On an unforgettable fake, Taylor scored the last TD himself on a run around right end. The building shook.
After UT turned the ball over on downs, I stayed to watch the goal posts come down. I listened to Whit Taylor in the postgame interview say, "We thought we would be able to throw deep on their secondary." I switched over to the UT station in time to hear Johnny Majors say, "This was a crazy season. We beat Alabama, but we lost to Vanderbilt."
Those of you who were there... what are your memories?
I was there, too. I came back early from Thanksgiving break with my older brother to see the UT game. It was a cold, hard, pouring rain that day, but it was worth every minute to be out there. I even took part in the bringing down of one of the goal posts after the game. I am curious -- you mentioned the exploits of freshman receiver Arnaz Perry. There were two freshman who received significant playing time that year -- Arnaz and a linebacker -- Carvelle Massengale. I remember them because there were both in the same freshman dorm with me. Both Arnaz and Carvelle didn't make it back sophomore year, I believe because of grades. Unfortunately, that illustrates the difficulty Vandy has had over the years in drawing the balance between good athletes and good students. I was always impressed by those Vandy athletes who were able to achieve that balance, because college athletics is a major time committment. It was tough enough just making the grades at Vandy when you were a full time student. A friend of mine from law school, who was an undergrad. tutor of some of the Notre Dame football players, told me that, when the Notre Dame players weren't practicing, there were typically working with their tutors. That was the only way Notre Dame could keep some of the more marginal student athletes in school. It's quite a challenge!
As I posted a couple of days ago I was a scout for the Hall of Fame Bowl and had been scared to death at the Chattanooga game a week earlier when they played great in the first half. This win over the Vols helped bring over 20,000 Vandy fans to Birmingham. Stanford had lost to Cal and wasn't bowl eligible so we couldn't have Elway vs Taylor. We settled on Air Force after they beat Notre Dame and I thought Vandy would win by at least 14 points.
I think McIntyre's approach to that game was part of the reason it did not end in victory. He expressed that the bowlgame was a reward for the team, where his approach probably should of been that this was a challenge to end a great season on a great note. Still, considering the circumstances, McIntyre did a tremendous job while at Vandy. He had very little support from the administration and and about the same amount of VU tradition to build on. Beat UT!
I'll never forget that game... wonderful end to a very exciting season! Everyone was silent on that last play from Whit, because we all (including the UT players) thought he had handed off to Keith Edwards... and Edwards' dive toward the goal line was very close. It seemed like several seconds later that a slow, building roar started to originate from the West sidelines as we all looked over and (finally) noticed Whit had the ball over his head jogging easily into the end zone.
That slow roar built into pandemonium as Taylor jumped up and down in the corner... the place was rockin'!!!! It was worth every minute of the cold downpour I sat in to watch that game. Aside from beating the "Dark Side", it really was a fantastic game on both parts.
I was only 8 in 1982, but I was there.... I as an 8 year old do not remember a whole lot about the actual gameplay or names of players..... BUT I do remember the cold and rain, and I aslo remember the crowd going crazy and my Dad went nuts, and already being a Vandy fan, that hooked me...... Unfortunately, that was the best it has been since...... I l,ike jp, have more vivid memories of close calls but no cigar.... I still long for the day again, hopefully that will be tommorrow....
I have painful memories of that game. My throat was so sore from yelling & screaming that I couldn't talk for 2 days afterwards!--but absolutely worth it!
My memories.....The horrible weather outside and the glorious feeling inside......Whit Taylor's bootleg for the winning TD......Obnoxiously cocky Vanderbilt fans after the game that sounded like the obnoxiously cocky fans from all the other SEC schools after they had just won a big game (but in this case, I enjoyed the rerfreshing change)..... a sea of orange, but from memory, I'd say no more than 40% of the sold out crowd was UT fans...
All in all, my fondest memory as a VU football fan! And it was no fluke; we were the better of the two teams on the field.
but after that game I went to Steak & Ale and bought drinks for every person there, UT and Vandy fans alike. I was so deleriously happy that the $ 300 bar tab didn't mean squat. I'd love to have the opportunity to do it again!
The TD by Whit was beyond belief. The Hall of Fame Bowl party in Birmingham was a blast. The funniest thing happened when Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass started playing "Rocky Top" for the loyal VU fans. Someone had to tell him where he was and what it meant to us. I wish we had won the game, but the experience is still vividly alive in my memory. I hope to replace it very soon with another Bowl Moment.
I listened to the game on the radio. My most vivid memory is when Whit Taylor scored the winning touchdown. Thank you, Whit. You made me $50.00 richer that afternoon. I would have lost that bet had Vandy been forced to settle for a FG. How would that have felt? Vandy beats UTK but I'm poorer because I was stupid enough to give an Urnge fan points. (Vandy was actually favored coming into the game by three)
My other memory of this game was listening to the Puke Urnge call-in show afterwards. A lot of Vandy fans were burning up the lines and boy were they giving the Vawls and their fans hell. All those two doofuses hosting the show could do was sit there and take it.
I didn't have tickets to the game, but my best friend and I listened to the last frantic minutes in a parking lot off Elliston. What I remember was the bomb to Phil Roach, who had gotten way, way behind the UT secondary. He told reporters later that when he saw Whit launch the ball, he thought, "Oh my God, it's coming to me."
A teeny tangerine player finally caught Phil at about the 3 yard line (he ran great patterns, but was no speed merchant). Then, on the next play, there was the fake of the century. There is an oil painting in McGugin of WT holding the ball over his head as he went into the end zone. The inscription below reads, "A Perfect 10."
It was the first (and last) Vandy-UT football game that my husband attended with me. You see, he is a UT graduate, and I am a proud Vandy alumna. We were engaged to be married the following March, and, after that game, it is a wonder that the marriage ever took place.
The weather was really cold; there was a steady downpour of rain; and the wind was blowing hard. The momentum of the game swung back and forth between the teams, but Vandy played with an air of confidence. My fiance and my mother both left at halftime, saying that they were too cold and wet to stick it out. My dad, two brothers and I stayed until the end, and I am SO glad we did. Whit Taylor's QB sneak took place down in the corner where we were sitting for the game. I'll never forget the sight of him jogging into the end zone with the football held high. We jumped up and down. We screamed. We laughed. We cried for sheer joy. It was a joyous afternoon.
My husband has steadfastly refused to attend another UT-Vandy game since then. I still go to every home game with my family by my side. We cheer the team on and stay to the bitter end of every game, no matter how lopsided the score. I'm still hoping for a repeat of that cold, rainy Saturday in November 1982 when Vanderbilt was truly the better team on the field.
Go Vandy!!!!!!!!! Beat UT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In anticipation of a Vol victory (remember we had beaten the Tide for the first time in forever) I stayed late at work Friday night (in those days I worked at an establishment that was more Commodore than Vol in supporters. I don't think there's anywhere like that still in existence today) and printed off a banner about a hundred feet long boasting about "Orange Lightning Strikes the 'Dores" over and over. Hung it in the hall where it would be impossible to miss on Monday A.M. Sat thru that miserable weather to the miserable end (I still wince anytime I hear the name Cozart after watching all those TD passes whiz over his head) of that miserable game. Then had to beat feet over to work to yank down the banner before anyone saw it in the vain hope of lessening the abuse I knew I would take on Monday...
So the question is... Do y'all really think you can do it this year?