The number 7 play in our countdown to determine the best plays of Tennessee’s 2015 season is Brian Randolph’s pass breakup on the final play of Tennessee’s game with Georgia.With 6 seconds remaining and the Vols up 38-31, it all came down to one play. Georgia had one last chance to throw the ball into the end zone from 27 yards out in order to tie the game.
Knowing Georgia would have to throw for the end zone, Tennessee played a conservative man coverage with two safeties deep. The Bulldogs sent all five wide receivers vertical.
Quarterback Grayson Lambert targeted his top receiver, Malcolm Mitchell, deep down the right sideline. The Vols’ top corner, Cam Sutton, was matched up with Mitchell in man coverage and was running with him stride for stride.
Brian Randolph, the safety to this side of the field, was responsible to cover anything in the end zone on this half of the field. As soon as he saw Lambert wind up to throw, he broke on the ball and ran towards Mitchell.
Randolph executed perfectly. He got to the right position, high pointed the ball, and went up and batted it out of bounds. Rather than try to make a spectacular interception, he simply made the fundamental play and knocked the ball out of bounds with no time remaining.
What many Vol fans forget about this play is that Sutton, as he was trying to leap up to break up the pass, lost his footing and fell to the ground. With Sutton unable to defend the pass, this was dangerously close to a Georgia touchdown. Randolph truly saved the game by executing his assignment perfectly and knocking the pass away.