Tennessee senior Josh Dobbs entered Friday's Music City Bowl with 23 wins in his last 32 starts, set to cap his fantastic career against Nebraska with one last brilliant dual-threat performance in the Vols' 38-24 Music City Bowl win against Nebraska.
Both teams finished the regular season with bad division losses -- Tennessee to Vandy and Nebraska to Iowa -- and were looking to get one back in the postseason to get some juice heading into work ahead for 2017. The Cornhuskers were held back from the get-go, unable to get senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong -- like Dobbs, one of the most productive quarterbacks in program history during his career -- back from a hamstring injury.
With Ryker Fyfe under center, Nebraska was slow to start and never overcame a 21-7 halftime deficit. Dobbs was the star quarterback of the day, throwing for 291 yards and a touchdown while leading the team in rushing with 118 yards and three scores on the ground.
#Vols Sr QB Joshua Dobbs: It's been a honor to wear this T. I'll never forget it. This is a special place.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) December 31, 2016
But Dobbs wasn't the only soon-to-be Tennessee great finishing out an impressive career that will be remembered by Vols' fans for a long time.
Derek Barnett needed just one sack to pass Reggie White for the Tennessee career sack record. Nebraska did a good job of targeting Barnett with its blocking schemes but eventually the star defensive end got his, pulling Fyfe down late in the fourth quarter for career sack No. 33, giving him the title.
The 2016 season didn't shape up quite like Tennessee fans hoped. Favored to win the SEC East in August, the Vols suffered injuries at nearly every key position during a stretch that included three straight losses and a fall from conference title contention. Though considered "Champions of Life" by Butch Jones, the Vols were able to finish the season with a strong bowl performance to send Josh Dobbs, Derek Barnett and other leaders out in style at the end of their college careers.