Late Saturday night, the game clock stuck 00:00 and the reporters flocked to hear from Jarrett Guarantano. The win made Tennessee the fifth team in SEC history to start a season 1-4 and finish with at least six wins.
It would be naive for me to say only one player is the reason for the turnaround. It’s been a complete team effort.
The defense is attacking and pressuring opposing quarterbacks just as good as any other team in the league.
The offense is starting to find a rhythm and playing the way Jim Chaney intended it to look. It also helps when the wide receivers are performing better than ever.
In the 24-20 win over Missouri, Jauan Jennings, Josh Palmer, and Marquez Callaway all had over 100 yards receiving tonight. A first in Tennessee football history.
Finally, despite the lackluster performance against the Tigers on Saturday night, the special team units haven’t lost the Vols any games.
Since starting the season1-4 with losses to Georgia State, BYU, Florida, and Georgia, the Vols have won 5-of-6 and are going bowling.
A big reason why is because of the quarterback play of Jarrett Guarantano.
Guarantano isn’t he most beloved quarterback in Tennessee history. There’s a portion of the fan base will hate him even if he won the Heisman trophy.
Those fans can’t get over the fact he has a horrible record as a starting quarterback despite most of the losses not being his fault.
However, he’s deserved criticism.
To say Guarantano’s season has been a roller coaster is an understatement. He’s missed wide-open receivers for easy touchdowns. He’s thrown interceptions that little leaguers wouldn’t have thrown. And, maybe the most memorable of all was his rogue moment against Alabama.
But, just as we give him criticism, we have to give Guarantano credit when it’s due.
After a career performance against Missouri, Guarantano deserves all the credit we can pass out.
The redshirt junior passed for a career-high 415 yards, the first time in his career over 400 yards, on 23-of-40, including two touchdowns with zero interceptions.
With at least two games left this season, Guarantano should have a career season surpassing 2,000 passing yards. He already has more passing touchdowns (15) then he did last season.
Guarantano has endured a lot this season. Death threats, mean messages to his sister, losing his starting job, and injuries to name a few. Yet, he still puts on the Tennessee jersey and gives his all for the football program.
Haters will always hate. It’s unfortunate, but Guarantano will always have his haters.
After the comeback we’ve seen this season, I don’t know how anyone can support the Vols and hate Jarrett Guarantano.