Rapid Reaction: Tennessee snaps losing streak to Vanderbilt as Eric Gray carries Vols to victory
It may not have been pretty but Tennessee has finally beaten Vanderbilt.
The Volunteers, a little later than expected due to a weather delay to start the game, beat the Commodores 28-10 on Saturday to finish the season with a 7-5 record.
Anything short of Tennessee earning its seventh win of the season would have been a stunning upset but the win is still important for Jeremy Pruitt’s program as Tennessee swept SEC East teams South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt this season.
Those results were once a formality on Rocky Top but Tennessee finished with a 1-7 record against those programs the previous two seasons with the Vols being outscored 275-137 during that span.
For Pruitt’s Tennessee program to take the next step in the SEC, they had to overcome these programs first and that mission has now been accomplished.
Entering the game, Tennessee was a heavy favorite against Vanderbilt but started out very slow following a delay to the start of the game due to weather. Apparently, Tennessee’s offensive gameplan was also delayed by the weather as Jarrett Guarantano started the game 0 for 7 and threw an early interception in the game. On Tennessee’s first play of the game, a lineman was called for a false start.
Following the Guarantano interception, Vanderbilt had a short field following the turnover and jumped out to a 3-0 lead. That would be the final lead of the game for the Commodores.
Vol Nation has been waiting for freshman Eric Gray to make his presence felt on Rocky Top and they day finally arrived as the first-year runner scored touchdowns of 56 and 94 yards in the game. The 94-yard touchdown was the second-longest run in Tennessee football history.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 30, 2019
Gray finished the game with 246 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.
Following the win, Tennessee now awaits its bowl destination after closing the season as one of the SEC’s hottest teams. With seven wins on the season, there’s a good chance Tennessee ends its season in Florida come bowl season.