#102 - 23-22 vs #16 Iowa (1987 Kickoff Classic)
The #17 Vols opened the ‘87 season in New Jersey in the Kickoff classic. Although both coaches, Johnny Majors of Tennessee and Hayden Fry of Iowa, said they would treat the event as a kind of preseason game and use a lot of players, the first teams were on the field during the decisive drive.
The Vols had an eleven point lead during the first half, headlined by a 97 yard fumble return for a touchdown by Darrin Miller, but trailed for most of the second half.
Tennessee had six possessions in the first three quarters in which it did not make a first down. The Volunteers passed midfield for the first time in the second half when Reggie Cobb ran 26 yards on the next-to-last play in the third period. The gain led to a 45-yard field goal by Phil Reich, the first of his three in the fourth quarter.
Down by two points, UTs offensive line took control on the final drive. Cobb had 21 yards and Jeff Francis hit Nate Middlebrooks on a 16 yard pass to set up Reich’s 20 yard FG in the closing seconds for the victory. Cobb, playing in his first college game, ran for 142 yards and was named MVP.
UTs victory set the stage for a very successful 9-2-1 regular season, culminating in a victory in the Peach Bowl.
View attachment 552705