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UT's Jalen Hurd (1) stiff arm's Oklahoma's Zack Sanchez (15) to gain yardage during the first half of play Saturday. The Volunteers played the Sooner's at home on September 12, 2015 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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KNOXVILLE — It all felt so similar, even down to the checkerboard in the stands.

The sting this time might be even worse for Tennessee.

The 23rd-ranked Volunteers let another important home win slip through their grasp as 19th-ranked Oklahoma rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter and outlasted Tennessee in a 31-24 double-overtime win Saturday night in front of a raucous crowd at a sold-out Neyland Stadium.

"We had them on the ropes, and we let them off," linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin said. "It's not a good feeling."

A struggling offense doomed a gallant effort from a defense much in the way Tennessee coughed up a 9-0 fourth-quarter lead against rival Florida last October.

"This one hurts, for sure," senior left tackle Kyler Kerbyson said as he tried to hold back his emotions. "We're definitely on the up and up, which is very enjoyable. I can't say enough about the guys on this team and how hard they worked for this. No one gave up. Everybody was giving it their all out there.

"I'm proud of the whole team and proud of the defense for stepping up when we weren't doing too well. This definitely is a hard one to take. But we've got to bounce back."

Tennessee (1-1) led 17-0 early in the second quarter after quarterback Josh Dobbs threw a touchdown pass to Josh Malone and ran for a second score.

A defense that was carved up a week ago by Bowling Green made that stand up until deep in the fourth quarter, when the Sooners (2-0) generated two long drives against a defense worn out by spending the whole final frame on the field.

"It doesn't really matter if we were tired or not," Reeves-Maybin said. "We've got a job to do. Doesn't matter how long we're on the field or how long we're not on the field. We've got to get the job done. We didn't do that late in the game."

The Vols finally paid the price for their offense racking up six three-and-outs in 14 possessions as the Sooners scored the tying touchdown on the 13th play of a drive that ended when Baker Mayfield tossed a perfect pass to Sterling Shepard on a fade pattern to the back corner of the end zone with 40 seconds left.

The Sooners converted just one of their first 11 third downs into firsts but finished the game 9-of-20 as Tennessee's defense tired.

Tennessee struck first in overtime, with running back Jalen Hurd darting in from 8 yards, and the Vols had the game down to one play when the Sooners faced fourth-and-goal at the 1.

Mayfield squeezed his way into the end zone, then threw the winning touchdown pass to Shepard in the second overtime.

The game ended when Dobbs was intercepted by Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez.

"You have to learn from it, and I'm exceptionally proud of them," Vols coach Butch Jones said. "They gave their all. And we came up a little bit short. That's competition. What do you do? You roll your sleeves up and come back at it tomorrow and you work. You let this drive you, you let this fuel you."

The Vols failed to capitalize on two interceptions by Todd Kelly Jr. and scored just three points — a 19-yard field goal after head coach Butch Jones elected not to go for a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line — off those two plays.

The Vols had 117 yards of total offense in the first quarter, but they finished with only 254.

"We bounce back by getting ready for our next opponent and putting this one behind us," Malone said. "We can't let the season end here. We've got to keep building on what we've got and learn from this."

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com

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