Tennessee (8-5) overcame a 16-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter to edge Indiana (8-5) in the Gator Bowl Thursday night in Jacksonville. Two touchdowns within 30 seconds of each other pushed the Vols out in front, 23-22, and Indiana’s long field goal attempt to regain the lead in the final minutes fell no good. Jeremy Pruitt won his first bowl game as head coach of the Vols, while Indiana’s bowl win drought drags on for another year.
After sitting out the first half to serve a suspension, Tennessee wide receiver Jauan Jennings entered the game after halftime. Any hope of Jennings providing a spark for the Vols seemingly faded as Jarrett Guarantano was intercepted by Jamar Johnson on Tennessee’s third play of the second half (after Indiana scored a go-ahead touchdown on the first possession of the third quarter). Johnson returned the interception 63 yards for a touchdown, giving Indiana a 16-6 lead after a missed extra point attempt. Jennings ended the game with two receptions for 27 yards.
Tennessee pulled closer with a field goal on the next possession and came closer with a long touchdown drive with Quavis Crouch running form the one-yard line to bring the Vols within six points. Indiana was not prepared for an onside kick, which was recovered easily by Tennessee, and Eric Gray gave the Vols the 23-22 lead with a 16-yard touchdown run up the middle of the Indiana defense.
Tennessee had opportunities to build a big lead in the first half but managed to score just six points on three red-zone trips. Indiana had a turnover on downs and the Vols settled for two field goals on their other trips, allowing Indiana to hang around at halftime. Indiana dominated the third quarter with a 16-3 advantage in the third quarter to take a 19-6 lead into the fourth quarter.
The win by Tennessee improved the SEC to 7-2 this bowl season, easily the best bowl record among all conferences this bowl season. The SEC is 2-1 against the ACC (with LSU facing Clemson in the national championship game), 3-0 against the Big 12 and 2-1 against the Big Ten. The Big Ten closes out its postseason with a 4-5 record with losing records to the SEC and Pac-12 (1-2) and drawing even with the ACC (1-1).
Indiana will open the 2020 season with a Big Ten opener in Madison. The Hoosiers visit reigning Big Ten West Division champion Wisconsin on Sept. 5 to begin the new season. Indiana will host Western Kentucky in their home opener the following week on Sept. 12.
Tennessee will open its 2020 season at home against Charlotte on Sept. 5. The Vols travel to Oklahoma the following week and close out September with a home game against Florida.
For as one-sided as the box score looks at halftime in the Gator Bowl, you would think Tennessee would be sitting in a much more comfortable spot at the break. Such is not the case as the Vols lead Indiana just 6-3 at halftime in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.
Tennessee out-gained Indiana 202-69 and forced a turnover by the Hoosiers, but Indiana’s defense has found ways to limit the damage in a big way on defense. Indiana created a turnover on downs at the Indiana two-yard line after the Vols took over with an interception by Shawn Shamburger off Indiana’s Peyton Ramsey. Tennessee was forced to settle for a field goal on their next possession, staling this time at the Indiana six-yard line. A third red-zone trip would once again end with a field goal by Brent Cimaglia on Tennessee’s next possession.
Indiana has rushed the football nine times for a total of six yards. Ramsey has completed eight of 13 passes for 37 yards with an interception. Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano has passed for 130 yards. One thing to keep in mind is Tennessee will get wide receiver Jauan Jennings in the second half. Jennings was suspended for the first half of the game due to his sideline incident in the regular seaosn-finale against Vanderbilt.
It certainly feels as though Tennessee is fit to win a defensive battle, but Indiana hanging around could be scary for the Vols.
It is unknown where Tennessee will be playing in the bowl season, but what is known is wide receiver Jauan Jennings will not play in the first half of the game. The SEC announced on Wednesday that Jennings will be suspended for the first half of Tennessee’s to-be-determined bowl game as a result of his stepping on a Vanderbilt player on the sideline last weekend.
According to a release from the sEC, Jennings was suspended under NCAA Playing Rule 9-6-2. The rule states “If subsequent review of a game by a conference reveals plays involving flagrant personal fouls that game officials did not call, the conference may impose sanctions prior to the next scheduled game.”
Video shows Jennings stepped on Vanderbilt’s Justice Shelton-Mosley on the sideline at the end of a play in last weekend’s game between the Vols and Commodores. There could be some different interpretations of whether or not Jennings intentionally stepped on his opponent, but the SEC certainly felt there was some malicious intent with the stomp. Jennings was not flagged for a personal foul for the incident, which is why the SEC defended the first-half suspension issued on Sunday. You can see video of the incident in question below…
Jennings is Tennessee’s leading receiver with 942 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Not having him for one half is certainly a tough blow for the Vols in whatever their upcoming bowl matchup will be. This, of course, assumes Jennings actually plays in the bowl game anyway. With an NFL future, don’t be shocked if Jennings follows the growing trend of sitting out the bowl season, thus not having to worry about the suspension anyway.
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.
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.