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.
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.
No. 14 Tennessee (4-0, 1-0 SEC) brought an end to an 11-game losing streak to No. 19 Florida (3-1, 1-1 SEC) in resounding fashion Saturday afternoon in Neyland Stadium. Down 21-0 in the first half, Tennessee roared back with 38 straight points en route to a wild 38-28 victory in a key SEC East battle.
The phrase “tale of two halves” gets thrown around a lot, sometimes more than necessary, but there was simply no way to describe what just happened in a checkered-out Neyland Stadium. The Vols looked lost and sloppy in the first half of the game, shooting themselves in the feet twice inside the Florida 10-yard line with nothing to show for it. But the second half was a reversal of fortune, as the Vols defense started getting off the field quickly and the offense started clicking. Joshua Dobbs shrugged off an awful first half and came back to lead the charge with four touchdown passes in the second half, and one more on the ground just for good measure. Dobbs was Tennessee’s second-leading rusher (behind Jalen Hurd) on top of passing for over 300 yards against the Gators.
Tennessee took the lead on a play that appeared to be eerily similar to a key play from a year ago. Dobbs found a wide-open Jauan Jennings down the right side of the field for an easy touchdown. The score gave the Vols the lead. It was a long passing play last season that saw Florida take the lead on the Vols when it appeared a victory was in hand for Tennessee.
The Vols tacked on more to put the game in he win column, of course. The defense picked off a pass from Austin Appleby on Florida’s first play of the ensuing drive and that was quickly turned into a touchdown. Florida then had to punt after three plays on the next drive, and the Vols scored four plays later. The momentum had swung back to Tennessee and never returned to the Gators’ sideline, even after a 16-play touchdown drive. Nothing was stopping Tennessee at this point, as Florida’s frustration boiled over so much, Brandon Powell was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter for throwing a punch.
Trying to figure out what this means for Tennessee going forward is a bit of a tricky proposition. That is because you just don’t really know which Tennessee was closer to the real Tennessee. The SEC East is most definitely their’s to take this year, with a head-to-head tiebreaker with Florida in the fold and Georgia looking abysmal on the road earlier in the day in a blowout loss at Ole Miss. Tennessee will get a chance to seize complete control of the division next week when they head to Athens to take on those Georgia Bulldogs. A win there and the SEC East crown should be pretty easy to claim, although the Vols still have a road trip to Texas A&M and a home game against Alabama after that Georgia game, so there is no easy path to the SEC East just yet.
And with a challenging schedule ahead of them in conference play the next few weeks, Florida is not out of the picture just yet. The Gators get no easy games with LSU and Arkansas in cross-division play, but a game at Vanderbilt next week offers a chance to bounce back before hosting LSU and Missouri and then taking on Georgia in Jacksonville. Florida can remain in the hunt, but the margin for error has been reduced as a result of this one.
Florida drew first blood, but the Vols are on the attack down in Gainesville. It has been a while since Tennessee defeated the rival Gators, but they look to be on their way to snapping the losing streak if they can keep it going. Tennessee leads Florida 17-7 at the half after scoring 17 straight points.
Florida opened the scoring with a Kelvin Taylor touchdown run to cap a drive that was highlighted by a 47-yard run by Taylor just two plays earlier. Butch Jones, as he has been known to do from time to time, went into the bag of tricks to help get the Vols on the scoreboard. The call was for a double pass from wide receiver Jauan Jennings to quarterback Josh Dobbs. Once he got his hands back on the football, Dobbs raced up the field for a 58-yard touchdown to even the score at 7-7.
Later in the second quarter Tennessee may have been given a gift by the lack of an instant replay review. Alex Ellis lost control of the football on a short pass down the right sideline. He lost control of the ball before stepping out of bounds, and the ball was spotted at the one-yard line by the officials after rolling out of play. The ball actually hit a Tennessee body before hitting a pyline, so Tennessee would have kept control of the football, but the spot would have been pushed back a few yards. Jalen Hurd picked up the short touchdown run on the next play to give the Vols a 14-7 lead. A 34-yard field goal from Aaron Medley later in the half gave Tennessee the 17-7 lead.
One key member in Tennessee’s most recent recruiting class could be in some hot legal trouble. Jauan Jennings, an early enrollee this past spring, is reportedly facing multiple charges stemming from an alleged incident at a graduation party gone wild.
A report from WGNS in Tennessee says Jennings allegedly assaulted a high school student, damaged the alleged victim’s car, and stole various items — a cell phone, jacket and arm brace — from the vehicle before fleeing. Jennings allegedly pushed the victim in the incident hard enough to cause neck and back pain. The formal complaint from the victim also accused Jennings of throwing a rock at his car, which caused damage over $500 according to the police charges on record.
Head coach Butch Jones has not commented on this situation at this time, although an official from Tennessee’s athletics office has said the university and program are aware of the situation and monitoring it closely. As such, there has been no decision made regarding his status with the team, not publicly at least.
Jennings was a four-star dual-threat quarterback recruit in Tennessee’s Class of 2015 according to his Rivals profile. The Murfreesboro, Tennessee product was the 13th-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the nation and ninth top recruit from the state of Tennessee.
Helmet sticker to Saturday Down South.
Photo credit: Rivals