As Chase McGrath’s game-winning, last-second 40-yard field goal sailed through the uprights, a sea of orange packed the stands spilled onto the field in celebration.
Orange fireworks went off over Neyland Stadium, and a capacity crowd of 101,915, some on the field and some still in the stands, celebrated No. 6 Tennessee snapping a 15-game losing streak with a 52-49 victory over No. 3 Alabama. secured at the last second.
The Tennessee Volunteers scored the most points ever in their 105-game streak and some fans even threw down the goalposts in celebration.
“This is college football at its best,” Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said, according to ESPN. “Tonight we were the best team on the field. That’s all we can control.”
Not since 2006 had the Vols defeated a Top 10 team or the Alabama Crimson Tide, their fiercest rivals, and the win cemented their position as a championship contender.
Alabama had its chance to extend its winning streak, but kicker Will Reichard missed a 50-yard field goal attempt with 15 seconds left.
On the next play, Hendon Hooker drove his team 45 yards with 13 seconds left to set up the winning kick.
Hooker completed 21 of 30 passes for 386 yards in the game and threw for a career-best five touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Jalin Hyatt was at receiver, recording five touchdowns, tying the single-game school record originally set in 1929.
“[This game] it just happened,” Hyatt said, according to ESPN. “It’s not just me. It was just the looks we got.”
Tennessee built a 28-10 lead midway through the second quarter, but trailed Alabama late in the third thanks to two touchdowns by Jahmyr Gibbs and Ja’Corey Brooks.
Hyatt’s fourth touchdown gave the Vols the lead back early in the fourth before scores by Cameron Latu and Dallas Turner for the Tide turned the game around.
Hyatt’s fifth score tied the game at 49 with 3:26 left in the fourth quarter before McGrath’s game-winning shot.
“We didn’t answer the bell today,” Tide coach Nick Saban, who went undefeated with the Vols in his 15-year tenure at Alabama, told ESPN. “We did too many things to help [Tennessee]”.