Rocky toppled: Peyton Manning’s monologue at CMA showcases clogger Zeb Ross

The University of Tennessee may have been rocked by top-ranked Georgia in last weekend’s college football showdown, but Volunteers’ alumnus Peyton Manning called a winning play during his monologue at the 56th annual Country Music Association Awards.

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Manning, 46, who played in Knoxville from 1994 to 1997 before embarking on a Hall of Fame career in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, co-hosted the show in Nashville with country music star Luke Bryan, The Tennessean reported.

When Bryan asked Manning to name his favorite country music song, the quarterback was ready.

“Well, I’m glad you asked that, because my favorite country music song is also a dance craze that’s currently sweeping the nation,” Manning said. “Hey, guys in the truck -- hit it.”

What followed was the banjo pickin’ lead-in to “Rocky Top.”

That’s when viral TikTok-ing clogger Zeb Ross bounced onto the stage and began stepping lightly to the sounds of the Volunteers’ anthem.

That was too much for Bryan, 46, who was born in Leesburg, Georgia. Bryan began waving his arms and yelled, “Stop!” three times.

“You know I’m a Georgia boy, and that was just too much. Too much for my ears,” Bryan said.

The patter at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville was fast and furious between Manning and Bryan.

The two co-hosts joked about the Georgia-Tennessee game -- won 27-13 by the top-ranked Bulldogs, according to The Tennessean. They also joked about Bryan’s “run” for the presidency and the size of Manning’s head.

The first-time co-hosts swapped jokes about Georgia-Tennessee, Bryan’s faux run for President and Manning’s head being too large to fit into any cowboy hat in Nashville.

Manning also cracked jokes at the expense of his younger brother Eli, who attended the University of Mississippi and won a pair of Super Bowls with the New York Giants.

“I don’t prepare,” Bryan said during the monologue. “I’m just a wing-it kind of host.”

“Trust me, that’s clear. So what you’re saying is this is my worst nightmare,” Peyton Manning said. “But it’s actually OK because I do a show with my brother Eli. I am used to this lack of professionalism.”

The older sibling got in a few more shots, prompting Eli to tweet, “If my math is correct, that is the 3rd shot Peyton has taken at me on the CMAs.”

“I have always wanted to host the CMA Awards,” Peyton Manning said. “After all, this is the Super Bowl of country music.”