Tennessee finally found the win column Saturday afternoon jumping on the University of Tennessee- Chattanooga early and often on its way to a 48-0 win.
Here’s how the Vols graded out.
Jarrett Guarantano played his best game of the 2019 season Saturday in limited action against the Mocs. The redshirt-junior’s first pass hit the ground but it would be the only one as he completed his last seven attempts.
In total, Guarantano threw for 142 yards and a career high three touchdowns in a little under a half of work.
The Vols’ co-backup quarterbacks were less than impressive leading only one scoring drive when a Chattanooga turnover gave Tennessee’s offense a short field.
Redshirt-freshman JT Shrout struggled in his action completing 3-of-9 attempts for 23 yards. The California native didn’t turn the ball over, but a “roughing the passer” call took away an interception.
Brian Maurer led the backup’s only touchdown drive- capping it off with a six yard touchdown run, but was 0 for 4 passing, while gaining 16 yards on the ground.
Tennessee fans saw a glimpse of the future of the Vols’ wide receiver room Saturday.
After Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway caught early touchdowns, Tee Martin rotated receivers heavily as the Vol’s big three caught just five combined passes.
Cedric Tillman impressed catching a pair of passes for 38 yards including a 28 yard touchdown late in the second quarter.
In total, seven Tennessee receivers and tight ends caught passes totaling just 161 yards, but as previously mentioned Tennessee’s back-up quarterbacks struggled to get them the ball in the second.
Saturday saw Tim Jordan return to action for the Vols after missing the BYU game. The junior carried the ball five times for 33 yards.
Ty Chandler led Tennessee’s running back core in every category Saturday carrying the ball ten times for 46 yards and his second touchdown of the season.
In total, six different Vols got carries Saturday- including three players who hadn’t carried the ball in the first two games.
Despite a lack of splash plays, the Vols largest run was 18 yards, Tennessee steadily found success in the run game averaging slightly over five yards.
Tennessee’s offensive line rotation continued on Saturday, including a new starting lineup that saw Darnell Wright start at right guard and K’Rojhn Calbert start at right tackle.
The unit did what they should have done against an opponent of Chattanooga’s level creating space in the run game, including the reserve offensive linemen in the second half.
The pass blocking improved again from week two to week three as Pruitt noted a decrease in missed assignments. The unit didn’t give up a sack and allowed few hurries in the win.
Tennessee’s defensive line helped shut down the Mocs rushing attack holding them to just over three yards per carry.
Matthew Butler turned in four tackles including three solo ones, leading the way for the unit.
Tennessee didn’t tally a sack on Saturday and found limited pressure from the interior of the defense.
Tennessee’s linebackers turned in a complete performance Saturday with strong showing from both starters and backups at inside and outside linebacker.
The return of Daniel Bituli, the defense’s unquestioned leader, was a huge boost to the unit as he picked up two tackles knocking the rust off before SEC play.
Henry To’oto’o continued to flash recording a tackle for a loss and a pass deflection on third down.
Back up inside linebacker Jeremy Banks had a career day Saturday intercepting a pair of Nick Tiano passes.
The youth movement saw continued progress at outside linebacker as freshman Roman Harrison and Quavaris Crouch combined for seven tackles and frequently pressured Tiano.
Tennessee’s defensive backs matched the linebackers with two interceptions of their own. Nigel Warrior picked up the second of his career, returning it for 22 yards deep into Chattanooga territory.
Backup Kenny Soloman recorded the first interception of his career intercepting a late game pass in the Vols endzone.
In total, Tennessee limited the Mocs to just 76 passing yards on 9-of-26 passing with some help from some Chattanooga drops.
Ty Chandler set the tone for the Vols on Saturday when he returned the opening kickoff to the Mocs 41 yard line.
It wouldn’t be the only play made by the special teams in the first quarter, as Tyler Byrd blocked a Gabe Boring punt that Brandon Johnson returned 24 yards for a touchdown.
Brent Cimaglia added on a 34 yard field goal to improve to 8-for-8 on the season. The Nashville, Tennessee native continues to prove to be a real asset for the Vols with his reliable leg.
Tennessee did what it needed to do Saturday to quickly take care of business against the Mocs. That certainly isn’t the biggest accomplishment against a Southern Conference team, but it’s more than you can say about the Vols’ performance the first two weeks.
Tennessee’s defense dominated Chattanooga forcing five turnovers and three first half three-and-outs.
The offensive starters scored often and quickly, but the pair of backup quarterbacks failed to create much momentum for the Vols offense.