First Football Game
Although UT’s football debut is dated November 21, 1891, when 46 players went by train to Chattanooga for a Saturday afternoon game against Sewanee (a 24-0 loss), Knoxvillians first saw university students on the gridiron a few days later. On Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1891, a combination of 11 young men from the Knoxville Football Club and UT played a team from nearby Harriman, Tennessee, and lost 14-4. For two weeks prior to the game, the Knoxville Journal ran articles on football, its importance as a sport, and plans and preparations for the upcoming game. The team played their earliest games off campus at Baldwin Park and Chilhowee Park. Games began on campus in 1908 at UT’s first athletic field, Wait Field, located near Cumberland Avenue and Phillip Fulmer Way. In 1921, the Vols began playing at UT’s first regulation football field, Shields-Watkins Field, which is the field in Neyland Stadium.