In Phillip Fulmer's first year as head coach, Tennessee rolled through the regular season, scoring at least 28 points in every game; except against Gene Stallings and the 1993 Alabama team.
The second-ranked and reigning national champion Crimson Tide held the No. 10 Volunteers to 17 points. Still, that looked to be enough to end Tennessee's seven-year losing streak in the series.
Tide junior quarterback Jay Barker and junior receiver David Palmer had other plans. Trailing 17-9 with 1:44 remaining, Barker directed the Alabama offense 80 yards for its first touchdown with 21 seconds remaining. Barker, who was named ABC’s Player of the Game, ran a sneak to pull his team within two points.
“Just give me some room,” Barker told his offensive line in the huddle.
Barker went 6-for-9 for 81 yards on the fateful drive and for the day threw for 312 yards on 22-for-40 passing. His top receivers were Palmer (six grabs, 95 yards), fullback Tarrant Lynch (five catches, 45 yards) and receiver Chad Key (four catches, 65 yards), a former quarterback who was a key target along with Palmer on the final drive.
To no one’s surprise, Palmer lined up at quarterback on the two-point conversion, scored, and the game ended in a 17-17 tie.
The entire Legion Field crowd knew Palmer was going to run the ball, but he slithered across the goal-line for the tie on the strength of a key block by walk-on fullback Marcus Moring to spring Palmer as he circled right end.
“If [Palmer] hadn’t made it, I’d have had a lot of explaining to do,” Stallings said. “But he did make it.”
Added offensive tackle Roosevelt Patterson: “I knew we were going to get in the end zone when Palmer was back there. I knew that play was gonna work. It’s a very good play and is designed to go outside.”
Alabama’s defense was led by linebacker Michael Rogers with 12 stops, while linebacker Will Brown and safety Sam Shade had eight each.
Kicker Michael Proctor made three field goals and missed two. The misses were from 36 and 42 yards, both well within his range. One of his makes tied his career long of 47 yards.
The tie snapped a 28-game Alabama winning streak under Stallings.