When this happens to you and your team goes on to lose in the next overtime possession, one might expect some nasty fan reaction:
In the case of Tennessee receiver Alton “Pig” Howard, the response from fans after his fumble hasn’t been negative at all:
“All positive. That’s all I can say. Not one person came to me saying anything negative about it. I’ve got all positive talk, and I respect everyone for it…
I really haven’t been thinking about it. After the game, I kind of sat there and thought about it over and over. I don’t think I would do anything differently. I was just trying to make a play for my team…
If I was to (change anything), I probably would have lowered my shoulder on the (defender). But at the end of the day, it was third down (actually second), and I wasn’t settling for a field goal. I was trying to win it for my team.”
Aside from not knowing what down it was, it’s hard to fault Howard. He had the ball in both hands but it slipped out as he stretched for the goal line. Had he scored, Georgia would have been forced to score a touchdown of its own. Instead, the Dawgs were able to kick a field goal to vanquish the Vols, 34-31.
On the day, the diminutive sophomore receiver had six carries for 46 yards and four catches for 70 yards. His 116 yards of offense were a career best.