Rapid Reaction: Tennessee finally beats Will Muschamp as Jauan Jennings leads Vols in rout of Gamecocks
Coming into Saturday’s game, Tennessee had never beaten a team coached by Will Muschamp. That streak was snapped in Neyland Stadium this weekend as Jauan Jennings put his teammates on his back and willed the Vols to a 41-21 win.
Tennessee’s performance was even more impressive when you factor in the horrible start the Vols got off to in this one. It took South Carolina only one play to score as Ryan Hilinski connected with Shi Smith for a 75-yard touchdown right up the middle of Tennessee’s defense.
This game featured several players taking snaps behind center for Tennessee as Jauan Jennings officially took the first snap of the game at quarterback for the Vols out of the Wildcat formation. JT Shrout was the first quarterback to take the field for the Vols but was quickly replaced by Jarrett Guarantano for UT’s third series of the game.
Despite his recent struggles, Guarantano largely played well for Tennessee before he got hurt. When adversity struck, Tennessee once again remained resilient as redshirt freshman JT Shrout came off the bench to uncork a 55-yard touchdown to Marquez Callaway.
Guarantano completed 11 of 19 passes with two touchdowns and no turnovers while JT Shrout finished seven of 11 with 122 yards and one score.
In years past, that play could have derailed a mentally fragile Tennessee program, but this appears to be a new era under Jeremy Pruitt on Rocky Top.
Thanks in large part to Jennings, who had his best performance of the season on Saturday. When he wasn’t taking snaps at quarterback, Jennings was padding his receiving stats as he had seven catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
Each of his scores were impressive in their own right but the first one was an amazing individual effort.
The second touchdown was impressive considering the shot he took in the end zone. This was the play that knocked Guarantano out of the game.
That play can be viewed below:
Jauan Jennings willing Tennessee to victory pic.twitter.com/vWPgOuczEn
— thatSECpodcast (@thatSECpodcast) October 26, 2019
Jennings wasn’t the only Tennessee receiver to have a great outing as Marquez Callaway scored on offense and special teams. The senior scored in the first half on a punt return and had three catches for 101 yards and a touchdown on Saturday.
The play that finished South Carolina came in the fourth when Tennessee blocked a punt and linebacker Daniel Bituli recovered in the end zone to push the Vols’ lead to 41-21.
Here is the play that broke the Gamecocks and finally snapped the Muschamp streak for the Vols:
Tennessee’s defense deserves plenty of praise for this victory, too, as the Vols shut out the Gamecocks in the second half. Gamecock quarterback Ryan Hilinski finished the game throwing for 319 yards but it took him 47 passing attempts to get there.
Having their freshman signal-caller attempt that many passes clearly was not a recipe for success coming into this matchup. The Gamecocks rushed for only 78 yards on 30 carries with Tavien Feaster finishing the game with 80 rushing yards.
Shi Smith had an outstanding day for the Gamecocks, finishing with 11 catches for 156 yards and the big touchdown out of the game while Bryan Edwards had eight catches for 83 yards.
Edwards became South Carolina’s all-time leading receptions leader in this one with his 208 catch coming on Saturday.
With this win, Tennessee improves to 3-5 on the season with UAB coming to Neyland Stadium next weekend. South Carolina will drop to 3-5 with this loss and is set to host Vanderbilt next weekend.