Dan Ellington is a name that will live forever in infamy in Knoxville, Tennessee. Ellington was the driving force behind a shocking upset on Saturday in Week 1, leading the Georgia State Panthers to a 38-30 win over Tennessee in Neyland Stadium. Ellington didn't have eye-popping stats, but he continually made plays every time the Panthers needed one.
Ellington finished with 139 yards passing, 61 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. His 22-yard scamper in the fourth quarter to give the Panthers a 35-23 lead sucked all the air out of the stadium. It also proved to be the game-winning touchdown, sealing Georgia State's first win over a Power Five school in program history.
The game got off to an ominous start for the Volunteers. Before it even began, a 42-foot boat in the Vol Navy burned and sank in the Tennessee River. Things wouldn't get much better following the opening kickoff, as Tennessee fumbled on its second play of the game. Six plays and 23 yards later, Seth Paige (11 carries, 40 yards, 1 TD) scored from four yards out to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead. Tennessee would recover, however, scoring two touchdowns before the end of the first quarter to take a 14-7 lead. The Panthers would respond late in the first half, going on a 16-play, 81-yard march to tie the game at 14 with 3:11 left in the first half, Even then the Vols would answer once more, getting a field goal just before halftime to head to the locker room up 17-14.
The offense would dry up in the second half. Georgia State took a 21-17 lead early in the third but Tennessee could only muster a couple of field goals to take a 23-21 lead -- a lead that wouldn't last long, as Georgia State would take a commanding 38-23 lead with 2:38 left. Tennessee would score a touchdown with two seconds left to make it a one-score game.
It's the first time Tennessee has lost a home game to a school from the Group of Five conferences since losing to Wyoming 13-7 during the 2008 season. The loss came only days after coach Phil Fulmer announced he'd step down at the end of the season, and the Vols would go on to finish the year 5-7.