Tennessee grabs last-second kicker off his frat house couch

It was 6:10 p.m. when University of Tennessee student Derrick Brodus got the call.

He was lying on the couch in his frat house, waiting for the Tennessee-Middle Tennessee game to start at 7 p.m. when the football office rang and told him it was sending a police escort to get him to the stadium immediately.

"I thought it was a dream," Brodus said. "I was just laying on my couch relaxing and I answer my phone and they just tell me that I need to come to the stadium as soon as possible."

Minutes before that call, Tennessee had run out of kickers. Starter Michael Palardy had injured himself during Thursday's practice, and backup Chip Rhome pulled a muscle during pregame warmups. That left Brodus, a freshman walk-on, as the Vols' only option.

"[Rhome] went out there like the kickers do before pregame and they all come back in a panic," coach Derek Dooley recounted after the game. "I said 'let's get an APB out on Brodus.' It's a good thing he wasn't having too much fun on a Saturday afternoon.

"I told the coaches, 'Hey — an intoxicated Brodus is better than nobody. Get him. Just get him here. Give him a Breathalyzer.' Fortunately he didn't do anything bad."

Brodus said he had someone stretch him in the locker room while he put on his pads and did a couple basic warmups before jumping into the game. He went on to make all three of his PATs and a 21-yard field goal at the end of the first half that brought the Vols' lead to 24-0, which wound up being the final score.

Prior to Saturday's game, Brodus had never worked with the first or second string and wasn't even listed on the team's depth chart. But for his last-second effort, Dooley gave him the game ball.

"I was proud of him," Dooley said. "Great story. I'm going to write a book one day about the things that happened to me over the years. I had to find a kicker out of a frat."

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