Beasley was worrying more about an upper front tooth broken in half against Chattanooga than he was about any double-or triple-team tricks Tennessee might be planning. He had elected not to have the tooth fixed until after the Tennessee game, perhaps not until the end of the season. "The doctor said he'd have to give me Darvon or something," said the chunky redhead. "I said no. You take anything like that, even an aspirin, and it'll slow you down. And nobody ever accused me of being good-looking anyway."
But at halftime the kid with the broken tooth was just waking up and discovering that his team was behind 6-0. And that he had this terrible headache. When he tried to walk, he found out he had injured his left big toe. He didn't know how, just that it was swollen and painful. About then, across the room, Sullivan, as team captain, stood up. "I just want to tell the defense," Sullivan said, "that if they continue to hold them, we'll get the points we need." Beasley stood up, decided his head felt fine and that his toe didn't hurt. With the team, he limped out onto the field.
The second-half kickoff was more like old times. Tennessee fumbled and Auburn's Miles Jones recovered on the Vols' 13. Auburn managed just two yards in three plays. Gardner Jett, the placekicker, came in. He had tried a field goal in the first half but it had been blocked by Linebacker Jackie Walker. Given a second chance when Tennessee was called offside, Jett kicked again, and Walker got a hand on it again. "I don't think he knew how quick I am," Walker said. This time Jett knew. He made the short field goal, cutting Tennessee's lead to 6-3. "He was quicker," said Walker.
Near the end of the third quarter, Auburn fumbled and Tennessee's Ken Lambert recovered near midfield. Tennessee turned that into a 50-yard field goal by Hunt and took a 9-3 lead with less than 15 minutes to play.
Then Sullivan and Beasley started Auburn moving. No more was the ball slipping. It went to Beasley for eight. To Schmalz for 18. To Beasley for 11. When Tennessee's Conrad Graham was red-flagged for pass interference against Beasley, Auburn had the ball at the two. And, of course, it fumbled into the end zone on the first play. Tennessee's Tim Townes recovered for a touchback.
Sparked, Tennessee began to move. In 13 plays the Vols drove to the Auburn 14. Overhead, the rain clouds were gathering. At third and two with a possible touchdown or easy field goal coming up, Tennessee followed the game plan. Fumble. Auburn's Bill Luka fell on the ball with 195 pounds of happy muscle. "We can move now," said Sullivan. "Let's go." So here came the Auburn offense. Zap. To Beasley for six. Tennessee shifted into a prevent defense. "We changed our coverage," said Majors. "And their receivers ran deep posts in between our zone. They hit us in the seams."
Sullivan told Schmalz to run a curl. It started that way, but seeing he was well covered he broke his route, cutting inside. Sullivan hit him with a line drive for 23 yards. Sullivan then called the same play, same pattern. Schmalz broke his route again, cutting inside. Sullivan hit him for 22 yards to the Tennessee 35.
"With Beasley in there," Schmalz said, "all the pressure is on him. A blind man could get open. And that Sullivan is something else. Twice I break my pattern and twice he finds me."
Zap. Zap. Line drives to Beasley and Schmalz picked up 30 yards and Auburn was at the five. Everybody was thinking fumble. Except Sullivan. He handed off to Tailback Harry Unger, who scored. Jett's kick made it 10-9, which was how it ended a few minutes later.
"That Sullivan, he never gives up, never loses his cool," said Beasley, flashing a happy 31�-tooth grin. "He was an All-America out there. And so was Schmalz. And our offensive line. And our defense. Everybody but me. I was lousy."