The number 13 play in our countdown to determine the best plays of Tennessee’s 2015 season is Jakob Johnson’s forced fumble and John Kelly’s recovery against Georgia.Down 24-10 to Georgia with 1:04 left in the first half, many Vol fans were content to go into the half down fourteen. After two fourth down conversions led to a touchdown, Tennessee was just glad they were down 14, not 21.
The Vols’ kickoff team had a different idea. Aaron Medley booted the ball down to the Georgia 7 yard line, where it was fielded by Sonny Michel. Michel ran the ball out to the 2 yard line, where he was stood up by Vols’ tight end Jakob Johnson.
Once a swarm of Tennessee coverage players got in on the gang tackle, Johnson began ripping at the ball. Just before Michel’s knee hit the ground, Johnson finally ripped the ball free, and, after a big pile up, Tennessee running back John Kelly recovered the ball.
Blessed with outstanding field position, the Vols offense put the ball into the end zone five plays later. In the span of just over 30 seconds, Tennessee scored 14 points, swinging all the momentum in their favor and turning a sure blowout into a tightly contested game at the half.
As a whole, special teams is underrated. Fans tend to forget the importance of the third phase of the game. Even this play seems to be often forgotten by some fans who recall the flashier plays from Tennessee’s come from behind win. But make no mistake: Johnson’s forced fumble wand Kelly’s recovery was all but essential to a Tennessee victory.
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