Rapid reaction: Quarterback rotation continues as Tennessee snaps losing streak, routs Vanderbilt
Tennessee has more than one quality option at quarterback, but it didn’t seem to matter who was at the controls as the Vols carved up the Vanderbilt defense.
The Vols used 3 quarterbacks in the first half, and while JT Shrout had two touchdown passes, the Vols returned to starter Harrison Bailey in the second half, and he picked up his perfect start. Bailey was 7-for-7 passing in the first half, and didn’t miss a beat after halftime.
In a game where both teams looked for positives out of an otherwise dreadful season, the Vols shook off a sluggish start, got some defensive scoring, and rolled in the second half for a 42-17 victory.
The loss extended the Commodore losing streak to 9 games, as next week at Georgia, they’ll try to avoid the first winless season in school history. Tennessee, meanwhile, snapped a six-game losing streak.
Princeton Fant got the Vols on the scoreboard first as he scored the first touchdown of his career. He came into the game with just 9 catches for 79 yards on the season. Then walk-on Toby Wilson connected on the extra point in the absence of Brent Cimaglia who opted out this week.
It didn’t take long for Vanderbilt to answer, and it did with an 18-yard catch over the middle by Cam Johnson. That setup the first scoring this season for women’s soccer goalkeeper Sarah Fuller, who previously made a kickoff at Missouri. Fuller tacked on another extra point in the fourth quarter.
Sarah Fuller is the first woman to score in a Power 5 game. pic.twitter.com/Paq7WS24zu
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) December 12, 2020
Between Bailey and Shrout, Brian Maurer came in late in the first quarter and added a 22-yard run. Shrout then came in as the Vols trailed for the first time early in the second quarter.
Vanderbilt got the first turnover of the game when Andre Mintze sacked Harrison Bailey on a play that was reviewed to see if Bailey’s arm was going forward on what was nearly an incomplete pass. After review, the officials said the play stood, and Vanderbilt took over at the Tennessee 26.
The Commodores hit a 46-yard pass from Ken Seals to Amir Abdur-Rahman, then settled for a 39-yard field goal by Pierson Cooke, who is the long field goal kicker, while Fuller is the designated kicker for shorter field goal attempts.
It took a while for Tennessee’s defense to make an impact, but when it did, it was noticeable.
Bryce Thompson returned a one-handed interception on third down for a 18-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter as the Vols re-took the lead for good, 14-10. On the next Vanderbilt drive, Matthew Butler sacked Seals for a 14-yard loss. Then the Vols tacked on another score thanks to a 23-yard pass to Velus Jones Jr. from Shrout. Shrout later connected with Jalin Hyatt on a 26-yard score. Jones added a 74-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter from Bailey.
The Tennessee defense kept Vanderbilt under wraps most of the game, as the Commodres were held to just 31 rushing yards through three quarters, and they were just 3-for-14 on third down.