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November 19, 2011

Heartbreak in Knoxville

Tennessee's Eric Gordon returned a Jordan Rodgers interception 90 yards for a touchdown on the first drive in overtime, as Vanderbilt lost a heartbreaking game to its archrival by a 27-21 score on Saturday evening.

Originally, officials ruled that Gordon's knee was down, and it appeared that the whistle had blown. But a officials' review overturned the call, and a crowd of 91,367 celebrated UT's first Southeastern Conference victory of the year.

It was one of four costly turnovers for Rogers on the evening. The junior had four stellar starts in a row coming into this one, but finished 17-of-32 for 193 yards, a score, three interceptions and a fumble.

A Rogers fumble on the game's first possession gave UT possession at the VU 21. Three rushes later, Tauren Poole ran in from one yard out, and the Vols led 7-0.

Vanderbilt answered in the second quarter when Archibald Barnes picked off a Tyler Bray pass and returned it to the UT 6. On the next snap, Zac Stacy ran in from six yards out to tie the game.

But Bray hit Da'Rick Rogers on a beautiful 17-yard pass with 7:48 left in the half, and the Vols went on to lead 14-7 after the break.

The Vols were on the verge of another score on a third-and-goal play from the half-yard line. But Barnes stepped in front of another Bray throw and rumbled a Vanderbilt record 100 yards untouched for a score. A Carey Spear extra point tied the game at 14.

Rodgers hit Chris Boyd on a beautiful 20-yard scoring strike with 12:21 left in the game, and the 'Dores for the first time all day.

UT tried to answer when Michael Palardy attempted a 24-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter. The kick was blocked, but Vandy's Sean Richardson ran into Palardy, giving UT a second chance from the 2.

Bray hit Rogers for another score on the next play, and the game was tied.

The Commodores had a chance to win in regulation, but Rodgers was picked by Prentiss Waggner at the UT 35 with 20 seconds left in regulation.

Gordon's interception was the first overtime touchdown in NCAA Division I football in six years.


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