As game-winning Chase McGrath’s final 40-yard field goal sailed through the uprights, the sea of orange packed in the stands spilled onto the field in celebration.
Orange fireworks erupted above Neyland Stadium, and the crowd of 101,915, some on the field and some still in the stands, celebrated Tennessee’s No. 6 after a 15-game losing streak straight against No. 3 Alabama with a 52-49 victory. secured in the last second.
The Tennessee Volunteers scored the most points ever in the 105-game series and some fans during their celebrations even knocked down the goal posts.
“This is college football at its best,” Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said, according to ESPN. “We were the best team on the pitch tonight. That’s all we can control.
Since 2006, the Vols had not defeated a Top 10 team or Alabama Crimson Tide, their fiercest rivals, and their victory confirmed their credentials as championship contenders.
Alabama had its own chance to extend the winning streak, but kicker Will Reichard missed a 50-yard field goal attempt with just 15 seconds left.
In the next play, Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker led his team 45 yards in 13 seconds to set up the game-winning kick.
Hooker completed 21 of 30 passes for 386 yards during the game and threw for a joint-high five career touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Jalin Hyatt was on the receiving end and recorded five touchdowns, tying the school record for total touchdowns in a single game which was originally set in 1929.
“[This game] just happened,” Hyatt said, per ESPN. “It’s not just me. It was just the looks we got.
Tennessee had taken a 28-10 lead midway through the second quarter, but slipped behind Alabama late in the third thanks to two touchdowns from Jahmyr Gibbs and one from Ja’Corey Brooks.
Hyatt’s fourth touchdown restored the Vols’ lead early in the fourth before scores by Cameron Latu and Dallas Turner for the Tide turned the game upside down.
Hyatt’s fifth score tied it at 49 with 3:26 left in the fourth quarter, before McGrath’s game winner.
“We didn’t answer the bell today,” Tide coach Nick Saban, who had never lost to the Vols in 15 years at Alabama, told ESPN. “We have done too much to help [Tennessee].”