Rapid Reaction: Smoke Monday's pick-6 propels Auburn past Tennessee
Momentum took a complete 180 after one play in the Auburn-Tennessee game Saturday.
Auburn had just kicked a field goal to go up by 3, but the Volunteers were driving. Jarrett Guarantano got them all the way down to the Tigers’ 12 before things quite literally went the other direction.
Auburn’s Smoke Monday intercepted a pass in one end zone and took it all the way to the other. No one touched him as he sped down the sidelines taking the ball and the game with him. Auburn won 30-17 in coach Gus Malzahn’s 100th game as the Tigers’ head coach. He improved to 67-33.
— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) November 22, 2020
Mistakes in the red zone continued to plague Tennessee, which missed a 37-yard field goal on the ensuing drive.
Guarantano finished 15-for-23 for 156 yards and the interception before giving way to freshman Harrison Bailey in the 4th quarter. Eric Gray led the Vols with 173 yards rushing and a TD.
Tennessee (2-5) started the game well, taking an early 10-0. They missed a field goal on their first drive, but followed that with a Guarantano touchdown run. Their defense then intercepted Bo Nix in the end zone to set up a field goal on the next drive.
Nix led the way for Auburn (5-2), finishing with 220 yards passing and 1 touchdown. A large chunk of that came on a 54-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Schwartz that made it 10-7 early. The Tigers added a field goal before halftime to tie the game at 10.
Auburn played most of the game without leading rusher Tank Bigsby, who was injured after a gang tackle. Bigsby had just 3 carries for 24 yards.
Still, Auburn maintained offensive balance after he left. The Tigers ran it more than they threw it, and D.J. Williams and Shaun Shivers both topped 60 yards rushing.
Williams scored a touchdown run late in the 4th quarter to secure the victory.
Auburn, which improved to 5-2, will try to take down Alabama for the 2nd consecutive time next weekend. Tennessee (2-5) will look to end its 5-game losing streak Saturday against in-state rival Vanderbilt.