KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee fans had a lot to cheer about this year. The Vols beat Alabama for the first time since 2006 and went undefeated at home for the first time since 2007. Now, the Rocky Top Rowdies have been recognized as the best student section in college football.
The 2022 College Football Awards were held Thursday from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. studios, recognizing the top performers from the past regular season. Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt made history during the ceremony by becoming the first Volunteer to win the Biletnikoff Award, which honors the nation’s top pass catcher.
Each year, Taco Bell awards the Live Mas Student Section to the most dedicated student fan base in college football. The 2022 nominees were Tennessee, UCF, Ohio State and Washington.
Fans cast their votes on the Taco Bell Rewards app to crown the Rocky Top Rowdies the best supporters in the land. The school will be rewarded with a celebration hosted by Taco Bell in early 2023.
In one of the moments of the college football season, Tennessee fans stormed the field at Neyland Stadium following the Vols dramatic last-second win over Alabama. Fans ripped the goalposts down and paraded them around Knoxville before tossing one in the Tennessee River.
Tennessee was fined $100,000 by the SEC for the on-field debauchery following the upset win.
ESPN was no stranger to the passion of Tennessee fans this past season. College GameDay and SEC Nation twice traveled to Knoxville to broadcast live from campus ahead of games against Florida and Alabama.
Vol fans will now turn their attention to Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida where No. 6 Tennessee will take on No. 7 Clemson. The game will air Friday, Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Taco Bell will also be giving out 250 tickets per school for the College Football Playoffs and New Year’s Six, including the Orange Bowl, as part of the program.