The Vols are coming off one of the most embarrassing losses in program history to the Kentucky Wildcats. Tennessee managed to score a measly 7 points. It’s terrible, and there isn’t much left to say about the game. Let’s get to the report card.
Jarrett Guarantano had arguably one of the worst performances at the quarterback position in the history of Tennessee football today, going 14-for-21 for 88 yards and two interceptions. While that stat line isn’t that bad, what stats fail to show is the two pick-six’s that he threw, straight to Kentucky players.
J.T. Shrout would come in to throw one pass, which would also be a pick.
Meanwhile, late in the fourth quarter, former five-star quarterback, Harrison Bailey, would come in and throw 1-for-4 for 24 yards, with no touchdowns, but most importantly in this game, no interceptions.
If the Vols trot out Guarantano next weekend, he will be met with a hostile environment from his own fans.
Running Backs: B
Eric Gray and Ty Chandler carried this team today. Gray rushed for 128 yards on 24 carries, while Chandler rushed for 51 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
Tennessee’s running backs are one of the very positive things to come out of today’s game.
Offensive Line: B
They created running lanes against Kentucky, and while I would like to put some blame on them for the situation at quarterback this weekend, I can’t put as much as last weekend’s performance. Their quarterback didn’t help them at all.
Guarantano had plenty of protection on the plays that he threw the interceptions; he had all the time in the world and instead made poor decisions that hurt his team.
While Tennessee ran the ball very well and they provided great pass protection most of the time, because of the huge loss today, I can’t give them an A.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: C
When the quarterback plays poorly, the wide receivers grade suffers. I believe this is the case today against Kentucky.
If Guarantano had performed well and could actually hit the wide side of a barn, I believe the wide receivers would have played well.
Instead, Guarantano decided to throw pick upon pick, making the wide receivers suffer.
One play that stood out to me the most was a pass from Harrison Bailey to Malachi Wideman, where Wideman would make a beautiful leaping catch down the sideline for 24 yards.
Other than that, nothing memorable from this group.
Overall Grade: D
The offense only mustered seven points. However, the running backs carried these terrible grades from an F to a D. Tennessee’s three turnovers against Kentucky is inexcusable, especially after a disappointing performance last weekend. If Jeremy Pruitt starts Guarantano next weekend, Vol fans may be calling for a coaching change, sooner rather than later.
Defensive Line: D
The Volunteer’s defensive line did not perform well today, especially after last weekend’s game, where they had two great goal line stands against a strong Georgia offensive line.
They had 0 QB hurries this weekend and one sack from Latrell Bumphus.
Just a disappointing performance all around from the defensive line this week.
Early in the game, Henry To’o To’o sacked Terry Wilson; he did a great job of containing the running quarterback. Quavaris Crouch, also had a great game today, racking up 11 tackles.
However, later in the game, Kentucky dominated the Volunteers, and the linebackers struggled as much as the defensive line did.
Kentucky quarterback, Terry Wilson, had his best game of the season this weekend against the Vols, throwing 12-for-15 and a touchdown.
They can’t even stop a simple slant pass; we saw it against South Carolina, with Shi Smith, we saw it last weekend against Georgia, with Kearis Jackson, and we saw it this weekend Kentucky.
This secondary has been exposed three weeks in a row, which is a problem, considering going into the season, they were supposed to be a talented bunch.
Overall Grade: D
The Vols turned in another disappointing performance this weekend, despite holding Kentucky to 20 points on offense. I mean, yeah, holding a team to 20 points offensively is good, but when you allow 187 rushing yards and a quarterback, who isn’t normally a great passer to pass 80% against you, you’re going to get a bad grade.
Place Kicking: A+
Brent Cimaglia only got a chance to kick the ball once the entire game, but he went 1/1 today, so he’s getting a good grade.
Funny how that works; when you do your job, you get a good grade.
Paxton Brooks had five kicks for 189 yards, giving him an average of 37.9. He also had a 46-yard boomer of a kick. He did well today.
Return Game: B
Velus Jones Jr. has continued to be a threat in the return game, having three returns for 71 yards this game, his longest being a 27-yard return. He also performed well today.
Overall Grade: A
While special teams didn’t have a chance to keep us in the game or even do much today, they did their job, something I can’t fault them for or be mad at them about.
Offensive play-calling: F
Scoring seven points in any game is inexcusable, even with Guarantano at quarterback. The fact that the Volunteers struggled so heavily today doesn’t surprise me, though, as Chaney has been pretty pedestrian lately as far as play-calling goes.
Defensive play-calling: C
I mean… The Vols held Kentucky to below their average rushing yards. I imagine had they not had to deal with the constant pressure of covering for the offense like they did last week, they would have done better. Derrick Ansley did well with what he had, but Tennessee’s defense needs to figure out how to stop slants. Otherwise, this grade won’t be so forgiving next weekend.
Overall Grade: D
Jeremy Pruitt’s team came out looking like a below average football team and doesn’t look good at all for next weekend’s matchup against Alabama.
Tennessee is going to steamrolled if they continue to start Guarantano. The decision to put him back in after two picks six plays is on Pruitt and most likely why the Vols lost the game.