Jauan Jennings

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Big play sparks early life for Vols, but No. 3 Georgia leading Tennessee at halftime

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Tennessee may not have been able to beat Georgia State, but they are currently giving No. 3 Georgia a good battle in Knoxville. But Tennessee has fallen behind Georgia late in the first half, 26-14, thanks to a pair of  Jake Fromm touchdown passes late in the second quarter.

Georgia did strike first with a precise 12-play drive on their first offensive series of the game. D’Andre Swift capped the drive with a short touchdown run. Georgia had just one third down on the entire drive, with Swift converting a 3rd-and-1 with a four-yard run. But Tennessee had a quick answer when Brian Maurer connected with Marquez Callaway for a 73-yard score to give a much-needed jolt to the Vols fans packed into Neyland Stadium.

Tennessee took a 14-10 lead on their next series. Maurer again did the honors in finishing off the drive with a touchdown pass. This time it was a much more conventional 12-yard play to Jauan Jennings to regain the lead after a Georgia field goal.

Tennessee was just a few minutes away from going to halftime up 14-13, but instead, this game is firmly under control by Georgia with 30 minutes to play. Georgia took a 20-14 lead with 1:59 left in the half. After some terrific efforts by Jauan Jennings to move the Vols down the field late in the half, Tennessee missed a field goal with enough time for the Bulldogs to score once more. Fromm completed a pass to George Pickens for one last score with nine seconds left in the half.

And with that, Georgia is well on its way to another win against the Vols.

Tennessee drops to 0-2 for first time since 1988 after double OT loss to BYU

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For the second straight week, the Tennessee faithful are going home from Neyland Stadium after watching their team lose at home to an underdog. BYU (1-1) stunned Tennessee (0-2) with a late fourth quarter rally and a double overtime victory. The BYU 29-26 win came with a solid push on the line of scrimmage to push Tyson Williams across the goal line.

 

With under a minute to play, BYU was stuck in a 3rd and long. That’s when Zach Wilson found a streaking Micah Simon for a 64-yard gain to move the Cougars into scoring position out of seemingly nowhere. The big play led to a game-tying field goal by Jake Oldroyd to tie the game at 16-16 with one second remaining.

BYU struck first in overtime with the offense seizing the moment. Wilson went to the air to Talon Shumway from 14 yards out to give BYU its first lead of the game. But the BYU defense was unable to hold off the Vols for the win in the first overtime. Jarrett Guarantano found his go-to receiver, Jauan Jennings, for a 13-yard strike to force a second overtime. BYU’s defense stood up in the second overtime to hold Tennessee to a 40-yard field goal by Brent Cimaglia.

The Vols and Cougars each struggled to move the sticks on third down as the defenses ruled the night. While the passing production was fairly even between Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano and BYU’s Wilson, the difference in the game was found on the ground. Tennessee rushed for over 200 yards as a team while BYU had trouble getting much room on the ground. It was a suggestion that Tennessee had the edge on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football, an area they couldn’t create such an advantage last week against Georgia State. But that advantage was nullified once the Cougars made the big pass play at the end of the fourth quarter, as BYU was able to hold their own in the overtimes.

The last time Tennessee started a season 0-2 was 1988, when the Vols dropped games at Georgia and home against Duke before going 5-6 for the year. The last time the Vols dropped two games at home to begin the season was 1980, with home losses against Georgia and USC by a combined total of four points.

BYU will look to make it two in a row next week when they host USC next Saturday. The Trojans, with a backup quarterback, will be coming off a home game against a physical Stanford team.

Tennessee will play one more non-conference game before jumping into SEC play. Next week, the Vols host Chattanooga, an FCS opponent, before they get ready for a trip to Gainesville to play rival Florida. The odds Tennessee enters SEC play 0-3 are very slim, but at this point, nothing should be guaranteed.

Tennessee leading BYU at halftime in Knoxville

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A week after a humbling loss at home, Tennessee knew they wanted to get on the scoreboard early against BYU. And they did. The Vols also hold the lead on BYU at halftime in Neyland Stadium, 13-3.

After BYU opened the game with a drive that end ed with a punt, the Vols offense went to work to get an early lead. Not content to settle for a field goal, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt opted to go for it on a 4th & 3 on the BYU five-yard line, and it paid off. Jarrett Guarantano completed a five-yard pass to Jauan Jennings for a touchdown and the first points of the game. BYU would answer with a field goal on the ensuing possession.

The Vols tacked on a 51-yard field goal by Brent Cimaglia to add to their lead in the second quarter, and one more 39-yard field goal just before the end of the first half to build the lead to 10 points.

There may not have been as much improvement from Tennessee as fans may have hoped to see so far, and this game is very much still up in the air going to the second half. But the Volunteers have avoided turning the football over and the defense has held BYU to negative rushing yardage. Can Tennessee keep this going and avoid a second straight tough loss at home to start the year? We’ll find out in the second half.

Jauan Jennings to return to Tennessee for one more year

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The wild ride that’s been Jauan Jennings‘ collegiate playing career will include one more go ’round on Rocky Top.

The Tennessee wide receiver announced on Instagram that he will be returning to the Volunteers for a fifth season. Jennings had been considering making himself available for the April NFL draft before pulling the trigger on a return.

In November of 2017, Jennings went off on a profanity-laced social-media tirade aimed at the coaching staff. The day after, he was dismissed by interim head coach Brady Hoke, who made the decision in concert with then-athletic director John Currie.

Jennings subsequently met with head coach Jeremy Pruitt and athletic director Phillip Fulmer about a return; in March of last year, after Jennings pronounced that he would be playing “one last season” for the Vols, Pruitt confirmed the receiver was back on the football team.

This past season, Jennings tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with three; second in receptions with 30; and third in receiving yards with 438.

Prior to the off-field issue that led to his dismissal, Jennings suffered what turned out to be a season-ending wrist injury that limited him to three catches for 17 yards in just one game. That injury led to an NCAA waiver that gave Jennings his fifth season of eligibility.

Jennings, who originally came to the Vols as a quarterback, was second on the team in 2016 with 580 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. His 40 receptions were tied for second on the team as well.

Easy dozen: No. 1 Alabama rolls to 12th straight win over Tennessee

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The good news for Tennessee: the Vols scored more points on No. 1 Alabama than they have at any point in their 11-game losing streak to the Clemson Tide.

The bad: it wasn’t near enough.

Though backup quarterback Keller Chryst exploited worrisome vulnerabilities in a work-in-progress Alabama secondary, it was too little, too late as Tua Tagovailoa and company overwhelmed the Vols en route to a 58-21 romp in Knoxville.

Alabama opened up leads of 14-0 less than five minutes into the game and 28-0 a dozen minutes in, cruising to a 42-14 halftime lead. It was the fifth time in eight games Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) has hit the 40-point barrier in the first half, and the first half Tennessee (3-4, 1-3 SEC) has allowed the same since a 62-37 loss to Florida on Sept. 16, 1995.

The 58 points are the most Alabama has ever scored in 100 games against Tennessee. The 37-point margin marks the ninth time (and third consecutive) Alabama has beaten Tennessee by at least 20 points during the ongoing 12-game streak.

In two-plus quarters, Tagovailoa furthered his Heisman campaign by hitting 19-of-29 passes for 306 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Chryst entered for an injured and ineffective Jarrett Guarantano (5-of-10 for 63 yards) and fired two second quarter touchdown passes, finishing 9-of-15 for 164 yards with no interceptions.

Alabama accepted the ball to open the game and, for the eighth time in eight tries, scored a touchdown on its opening possession. Tagovailoa guided the Crimson Tide 58 yards in nine plays, including a 10-yard connection to Jaylen Waddle on a 3rd-and-10 from the Tennessee 35 and an 11-yard scoring toss to Jerry Jeudy.

And then came the knockout punch.

On a 3rd-and-10 from the Tennessee 25, Alabama’s Xavier McKinney sacked Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Christian Miller for the visitors at the Vols’ 3. Josh Jacobs punched it in for the score, putting the Tide up 14-0 at the 10:35 mark of the first quarter.

After the score, Alabama’s defense forced a three-and-out, and Tagovailoa hit Waddle for a 77-yard touchdown strike on the first snap of the ensuing possession.

After another Vols three-and-out, Alabama moved 93 yards in nine plays, gaining 46 yards on two completions to Jeudy and scoring on a 3-yard Damien Harris rush, pushing Alabama’s lead to 28-0 with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter.

Tennessee regrouped in the second quarter, forcing two straight three-and-outs (a first for Alabama this season), then moving 75 yards in five plays to get on the board. Guarantano hit Josh Palmer for a 30-yard gain but was forced to leave the game after taking a hit. Chryst entered and found Ty Chandler for consecutive gains of 26 and 10 yards, the latter putting Tennessee on the board at 28-7 with 7:21 to play in the first half.

Jeremy Pruitt called for an onside kick after the score, which Tennessee recovered… one yard before it was allowed to do so.

Alabama took over at the Tennessee 43 and capitalized with its fifth first half touchdown, a 2-yard Jacobs plunge that moved Alabama’s lead to 35-7 with 4:23 left in the first half.

But Chryst’s presence in the game continued to exploit a vulnerability in the Alabama secondary. Facing a 3rd-and-12 at his own 17, Chryst found Jauan Jennings for consecutive gains of 23 and 40 yards to move the ball to the Alabama 20. After an incompletion to Jennings, Chryst connected with Tyler Byrd for a 20-yard touchdown strike, pulling the Vols back within 21 with 2:18 left before the break.

Though Tennessee may have cracked the Alabama defense, the Tide’s offense remained unstoppable. Alabama needed 123 seconds to move 85 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 9-yard toss from Tagovailoa to Irv Smith, Jr.

Alabama opened the second half scoring by corralling Chryst in the end zone for a safety, then completed Tagovailoa’s day with a 41-yard scoring strike to Henry Ruggs III.

Jalen Hurts entered and contributed Tennessee’s third touchdown on a 27-yard pick-six to defensive lineman Kyle Phillips, but he immediately made up for the score by capping an 8-play, 70-yard drive with a 21-yard scoring jaunt.