BATON ROUGE, La. - Coach Derek Dooley jumped into sophomore cornerback Marsalis Teague's arms. Sophomore safety Janzen Jackson ran 100 yards across the field to celebrate with his family, who finally saw him play a college football game in his native Louisiana. Senior linebacker LaMarcus Thompson ran into the tunnel that led to the locker room.
Nick Reveiz, another senior linebacker, wept tears of joy on the fumble he recovered as time expired.
The Tennessee Volunteers had come to a sold-out Tiger Stadium, and they'd stunned the 12th-ranked LSU Tigers.
Or at least they thought they had. But they hadn't.
LSU, given another play because the Vols had 13 men on the field - two more than allowed - scored on its second crack from the 1-yard line.
Stevan Ridley drove forward and got the ball just over the goal line, and the Tigers won 16-14.
"That's one of the best and worst things I've ever been a part of," Jackson said.
Even LSU, which has botched late-game moments in the past under coach Les Miles, couldn't give the game away twice.
"Hey, look, man ... this is as hard as I've ever had it," said Dooley, a former LSU assistant. "I've never had one where we won and then we lost."
UT lost 12-10 last season at top-ranked Alabama, after the Crimson Tide blocked two field goals in the fourth quarter - one as time expired.
"Alabama last year, I didn't think it could get worse than that," Vols senior wide receiver Gerald Jones said. "And it did."
The madness started with 1 minute, 22 seconds left. LSU, facing a fourth-and-10 from the UT 34, was penalized for a false start. The Tigers had one timeout but didn't use it. They used it before the next snap, though, much to the dismay of the fifth-largest crowd in Tiger Stadium history.
Officials then marked off just 4 of the 5 yards on the penalty, taking the ball back to UT's 38 for a fourth-and-14.
Jarrett Lee, one of LSU's two quarterbacks, completed a 21-yard pass to Terrence Tolliver for a first down.
A pass-interference call on Teague gave LSU a first-and-goal at UT's 2 with 0:36 left, and the Tigers still had 0:32 left after Lee fired an incomplete pass.
Jordan Jefferson, LSU's other quarterback, ran 1 yard to the 1 on the next play.
After that, things got really crazy.
The Tigers brought several new players on the field, and they had trouble getting lined up as the clock ticked closer to zero. They snapped the ball just before time expired, but it sailed past Jefferson, and Reveiz recovered it at the 19.
UT coaches and players stormed the field, and many of the 92,932 in attendance walked out of the stadium.
"We were so excited," Vols junior tailback Tauren Poole said. "The ball game was won. It was won. We had to beat them twice."
And they couldn't do it twice.
Ridley, a powerful runner at 6-foot, 225 pounds, plowed in to stomach-punch the Vols.
LSU senior middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard said the "minute or so" he thought the game was over was "the sickest feeling I've ever had in my life."
But that feeling lasted a minute. The Vols' might last a lifetime.
"I fully understand the University of Tennessee," said Sheppard, who committed to UT in high school before switching to the Tigers. "They came out and played a good ballgame. If you look at their films previous, they played their best game ever. They probably could have beaten anyone in the country today.
"The feeling they have right now, I never want to feel that."
Dooley wasn't sure about the finish for one big reason. He questioned whether officials gave the Vols enough time to respond to LSU's late substitution on several plays, including the one that ended in a fatal flag.
"They ran a bunch of guys on the field, and the rules are [officials] should stand over the ball and give us a chance to substitute," Dooley said. "I'm going to have to look at the film to see if that was the case. But it was a lot of chaos. Things happened fast. Guys didn't run off the field. The ball was snapped pretty quickly. And so, we lose the game. I don't know what else to say.
"We obviously had too many men on the field. We had some issues with getting time to change personnel. We were complaining about it earlier."
They might complain more today. Or they might watch the video, notice they simply made a mistake and move on.
Either way, it will hurt.
"Alabama last year was similar, but this was just a little more heartbreaking," Jackson said. "Heartbreak, man. Heartbreak."
Reveiz, a former walk-on whose first season as a starter ended prematurely a year ago with an ACL tear, said Saturday was "the biggest disappointment in my life."
"I'm a big believer, though, that God makes everything happen for a reason," Reveiz said. "Heartaches are here to build us as people, our character."
Reveiz blamed himself for the final play, saying he should have stopped Ridley short of the end zone.
"You've got to go back out and fight for that last yard, and just, as a senior, not making that play, I put that on myself," Reveiz said. "And I'll tell you what, I'll never forget this ever. It's so frustrating. I'm speechless.
"There's no positive really you can take out of this. I don't know how to."
Other big plays happened in all four quarters of the game. The Vols made some and missed some.
Freshman kicker Michael Palardy, filling in for injured senior Daniel Lincoln, missed a 45-yard field-goal try - his first career attempt - midway through the third quarter.
Poole had no chance on a fourth-and-1 from the LSU 31 with 5:41 left. He was tackled in the backfield and couldn't move the pile enough to move the chains and waste away more precious time.
The Vols merely needed a fourth-and-14 stop to end the game with little more than one minute left, and they couldn't do it.
"It wasn't just that last play," Poole said.
But who will remember anything else?
"This is hard," Dooley said. "Sometimes things happen in life that you don't understand, and sometimes things happen in life that you don't think are fair. But you've got to deal with it, and that's where we are.
"What do you do? I mean, you've got to learn from it. It's life, man."