Couple engaged on the field at Neyland Stadium call it ‘Big Orange ending’


KNOXVILLE (WATE) — Before the Vols kickoff, the wind, and the rain — one couple found their “happy ending” in the middle of Neyland Stadium.

A proposal, now, an engagement.

Erica Pennesi and Jordan Wissel are both alumni of the University of Tennessee. They met as students in Knoxville. Wissel a junior and Pennesi a first-year grad student.

“Any college football Saturday where the Vols are playing, that’s my natural habitat. Now I have Vols and her, it’s picture perfect,” said Jordan Wissel.

Wissel planned the proposal with Pennesi’s sister, Hayley Pennesi, who once worked for UT. Along with the help of friends and family, Wissel pulled off the surprise. In fact, Pennesi said she didn’t realize what was happening until he pulled her onto the field.

“With my phone Snapchatting, like this is so cool. At that point, I still had no idea. I was just in awe of Neyland, of course. At that point, he pulled my hand, and I was like, what are you doing. Then he was on one knee…” said Pennesi.

She thought the trip was a tour of Neyland, along with her sister. Waiting for them afterwards, friends and family- decked out in orange and white.

They met by chance, both lived in off-campus housing. Pennesi asked Wissel to watch her dog while she was out of town, he had one too. Their names: Neyland and Jack Daniels. From there, they agree, it was a match.

“I knew 100% the setting was going to be Knoxville. Just being graduates, then the football team. It was kind of a pipe dream. Thinking, maybe we can get on the field somehow, thinking the odds were slim to none.” said Wissel.

The pipe dream, now a reality.

Wissel says he always knew how he was going to propose, it was just a matter of making it happen. Through their family and friends, they got special permission. A few moments on the field — for Wissel to propose.

The two now live in Nashville but still, have season tickets to come to every home Vols Football game. This one, even with a loss to LSU, was a one to remember.

They say they hope their story reaches any potential UT Football head coach candidates to show just how special Neyland Stadium and the Vols are to this fan base. They also have plans to get Peyton Manning to their wedding, and say they’ll be trying to send him an invitation.

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