Tennessee cornerback Justin Coleman saw the ball precariously bounce off the opposing receiver as his outstretched hands anxiously awaited the coveted prize.
The Brunswick, Ga. native corralled the errant pass and sprinted 23 yards for a pick-six, his first career interception.
"I mean it was just a play that created great energy and a huge momentum swing," Coleman said.
The perfectly-timed defensive touchdown injected life into the 86,783 in attendance as the fans had become bored with UT stagnant offense.
Then it happened again.
Two offensive plays later, freshman Cameron Sutton gracefully stepped in front of a Brandon Doughty pass before racing 36 yards untouched for UT's second defensive touchdown in 57 seconds.
"I can only imagine how he feels now, it's probably the best feeling in the world - a freshman's second game so I just feel like he's a blessed individual," safety Brian Randolph said of Sutton.
It was the first time the Vols had two pick-sixes in one game since 2010 versus Ole Miss.
While the two TD's stood out in the Volunteers' 52-20 rout of WKU, they were only a part of the defense's extremely successful afternoon.
On the Hilltopper's ensuing drive following the Sutton interception, UT linebacker Dontavis Sapp stripped WKU running back Keshawn Simpson and recovered the fumble, a play that eventually led to a Michael Palardy field goal.
"We have to fly around (on defense), Jones said. "We have to get eleven hats to the football. We have to swarm. "
UT had forced three turnovers in three consecutive drives.
And it wasn't finished.
The following drive, Hilltopper star tailback Antonio Andrews appeared to have a running lane but was met abruptly by linebacker Brent Brewer, resulting in yet another fumble. Max Arnold recovered and rumbled 23 yards to the WKU 12.
A Raijon Neal touchdown run came two plays later.
Brewer was not done though as he got an interception of his own, capping off an amazing stretch of defensive play in which UT forced turnovers on five consecutive Hilltopper drives.
Randolph finished off the turnover bonanza with two second half interceptions, both occurring in the end zone.
"I started feeling a little bit left out," Randolph said. "I saw my roommate, Justin Coleman, get (an interception) there, my little brother Cameron Sutton - I just feel like I had to join in."
Running Game Responds
After Jones challenged Neal this week saying "he left a lot of yards on the field," the Fayettville, Ga. native responded particularly well, scampering for 74 yards and three scores.
Neal's three TD's signified the first time a UT running back reached that benchmark since Montario Hardesty in the 2009 Kentucky game.
"In this league, you have to be able to run the ball," Neal said. "That's something that Coach Jones wants to do and preaches to us to do. We felt it was coming and we were ready for the challenge.
"I just thought (the success) was a lot about the O-Line, giving me lanes and giving me good reads. Much praise to them."
The play of Neal and Marlin Lane – who added 97 yards and a score - were beneficial to a Tennessee offense that struggled through the air for much of the contest.
"It takes a lot of pressure off me, knowing that on a third-and-four, we could hand the ball off and still get a first down," quarterback Justin Worley said.
"We enjoy playing with each other, and we know at the end what it is we want," Neal said of teaming up with Lane. "It's fun."
Austin Peay and WKU were a nice ease into the 2013 as Tennessee "needed to be 2-0," according to Jones.
Now it is time for the big boys, and it starts with a cross country trip to Eugene, Ore.
The Vols will face their first real test of the Butch Jones era as they travel over 2,500 miles west to take on Oregon inside the always-daunting Autzen Stadium.
"It's going to be a big step up this week," Randolph said. "They're a great opponent. We have a ton of respect for them so we know we're going to be in for a dog fight.
"We're all excited, maybe get out of class a couple days early and just get to focus on nothing but football. It's just a great time to show what we're made of."
The Sept. 14 matchup finishes off a home-and home series that began in 2010 with a stormy 48-13 Ducks victory in Knoxville
"I remember us coming out with a great sense of energy," Neal said of that 2010 contest. "We were on a pretty good drive, and then the rain delay set us back. The tempo was unreal, though."