Ten­nessee dom­i­nates 12th-ranked Ken­tucky

UT dom­i­nates 12th-ranked Wild­cats

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY GENE HEN­LEY STAFF WRITER

KNOXVILLE — Af­ter com­plet­ing a deep throw set­ting up Ten­nessee’s first touch­down Satur­day against Ken­tucky, quar­ter­back Jar­rett Guar­an­tano turned to Wild­cats line­backer Josh Allen and barked, “There’s no hit that’s go­ing to take me out!”

That was the kind of swag­ger the Vol­un­teers had Satur­day in a 24-7 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence win over 12th-ranked Ken­tucky in front of 95,258 at Ney­land Sta­dium.

No such at­ti­tude was ev­i­dent a week ear­lier in a lack­lus­ter 14-3 win over Char­lotte, but now the Vols are 5-5, 2-4 in SEC play, in Jeremy Pruitt’s first sea­son as head coach. A year af­ter go­ing 0-8 in the league, Ten­nessee needs only a win against Mis­souri this week or Van­der­bilt on Nov. 24 to be el­i­gi­ble for a bowl.

The Vols dom­i­nated on both sides of the ball, dis­play­ing a balanced at­tack with 215 yards rush­ing and 197 pass­ing. The 412 to­tal yards and rush­ing yards are the most this sea­son against a Power Five con­fer­ence op­po­nent.

“If you take away the cou­ple of turnovers, maybe the re­ally bone-head de­ci­sion at the end of the game and the penal­ties af­ter a touch­down, I thought this was far and away the most com­plete

game our guys have played,” Pruitt said. “I thought our staff done a fan­tas­tic job; I thought of­fen­sively we found a way to run the foot­ball against a re­ally good foot­ball team.

“We chal­lenged the play­ers this week that we wanted to have the most rush­ing yards, and we did. I thought for the first time we played with a bit of phys­i­cal­ity for the en­tire game. It wasn’t per­fect, but it was def­i­nitely very pos­i­tive. I know those guys are en­joy­ing that in the locker room.”

De­fen­sively, the Vols shut down Ken­tucky’s high-pow­ered rush­ing at­tack, which came in hav­ing av­er­aged 199.6 yards per game. Benny Snell was held to 81 rush­ing yards and 106 yards of to­tal of­fense, and the Vols con­tin­u­ally got in the back­field ap­ply­ing pres­sure to quar­ter­back Terry Wil­son. Ten­nessee had five sacks, four by Dar­rell Tay­lor, and held Wil­son to 172 pass­ing yards.

He did throw a touch­down pass to C.J. Con­rad for the game’s fi­nal points but also threw an in­ter­cep­tion to Mar­quill Osborne, who also picked off Ken­tucky backup quar­ter­back Gun­nar Hoak. The Wild­cats (7-3, 5-3) fin­ished with 262 yards of to­tal of­fense, their sec­ond-fewest of the sea­son. So were the 77 rush­ing yards.

“We were fly­ing around and be­ing real ag­gres­sive the whole time,” said Vols line­backer Daniel Bi­t­uli, who had eight tack­les, in­clud­ing 2.5 for lost yardage. “The coaches em­pha­sized all week we had to play a good 60 min­utes. We’ve played 30, 40 min­utes of a game, but we re­ally hadn’t played a whole game to our stan­dard, and I felt we did that to­day.

“We’re just go­ing to learn from the mis­takes to­day and carry on to Mis­souri.”

The Vols took a 3-0 lead on a 19-yard field goal by Brent Cimaglia in the first quar­ter, but af­ter Guar­an­tano’s big throw to Tim Jor­dan on a seam route up the field, Jor­dan punched it in a play later to put the Vols up 10-0 with 2:05 to play in the first half. The Ten­nessee de­fense forced a quick three-and-out, and the Vols used a 14-yard run by Ty Chan­dler and con­sec­u­tive com­ple­tions to Mar­quez Call­away cov­er­ing 56 yards to make it 17-0.

The fi­nal 39 yards came on a Hail Mary pass into the end zone on the fi­nal play of the half.

Call­away’s clos­est com­pe­ti­tion for the ball? Team­mate Jauan Jen­nings.

“When they throw it up, we try to catch it,” Call­away said. “I was ac­tu­ally go­ing to­wards the back, but I drifted in front of him. I know he’s go­ing to yell at me when we see it on film, but I’ll take the yelling.”

Ten­nessee re­mained ag­gres­sive of­fen­sively in the sec­ond half, us­ing some trick­ery for its fi­nal points. An end-around by Jor­dan Mur­phy — who had two touches for 97 yards Satur­day — gained 59 yards and set the Vols up in the red zone. Jor­dan then had a pair of car­ries for 14 yards, and Guar­an­tano threw to wide-open Do­minick Wood-An­der­son in the back of the end zone.

Guar­an­tano threw for 197 yards and was not in­ter­cepted, giv­ing him 146 con­sec­u­tive passes with­out an in­ter­cep­tion and break­ing Casey Clausen’s pro­gram record set in 2003.

Ty Chan­dler had 89 rush­ing yards to lead the Vols, while Jor­dan added 63.

PHOTO BY PA­TRICK MUR­PHY-RACEY

Ten­nessee’s Do­minick Wood-An­der­son (4) cel­e­brates af­ter catch­ing a touch­down pass from Jar­rett Guar­an­tano in the sec­ond half Satur­day at Ney­land Sta­dium. The Vols beat 12th-ranked Ken­tucky 24-7.

PHOTO BY PA­TRICK MUR­PHY-RACEY

Ten­nessee’s Mar­quill Osborne (3) breaks up a pass in­tended for Ken­tucky’s Isa­iah Epps (81) in the third quar­ter Satur­day at Ney­land Sta­dium. Osborne in­ter­cepted two passes in the Vols’ 24-7 vic­tory.

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