Ouch! That one stings… Tennessee loss to Georgia State sends shock waves through Vol Nation

Published 12:55 am Tuesday, September 3, 2019

KNOXVILLE –  The crowd was pumped with high expectations of their team’s first game of the season and could sense that a big celebration would follow a win over a team that had only won two games in the 2018 season.
No one had given the visitors in white uniforms a chance to win the game except the team that made the trip from the Atlanta area and about 300 to 400 blue-clad supporters who occupied a little corner section in Neyland Stadium.
But by the time the final seconds clicked off the clock, the Panthers walked off Shields-Watkins Field with one of the most stunning upsets in recent memory of many who have supported the Volunteers over the years.
It was simple math to figure out as the Panthers were the better team on the day and that was quickly admitted by Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt after the game.
“To me, the best team out there won the game today,” said Pruitt with the first sentence he spoke from his post-game media interview. “The team that played the best, executed the best and coached the best.
“Let’s start with that. Georgia State staff did a great job on both sides of the ball creating different looks on defense and confused a little bit. We turned over the ball and held the ball a little too long when we didn’t have to.
“On the defensive side, they put a tight end on the inside basically creating another gap there. We have seen them do it in the past and we just didn’t get it executed where it gave us a chance,” Pruitt continued.
“If you look at our team, too many times we made unforced errors especially defensively on third down just not lining up correctly and again that goes back to me right. We knew we had a very experienced football team defensively and we kept it simple but obviously we didn’t have the guys ready to play in that package on third down and we let Georgia State convert some of those third downs.
“You look at us offensively, we had the tipped ball turnover immediately. We made two mental errors on defense. Had a third and one later in the game and didn’t convert there. We didn’t put the ball in the end zone right there at the half and had three shots at the end zone to score a touchdown and didn’t do that.
“Defensively, it would be hard for me to really point out anything that we really did well.”
A couple of glaring stats that jump off the scoring page was the fact that Georgia State outrushed the Vols 213 to 93 while the Panthers also were 10-of-17 on third-down plays while Tennessee converted only 8-of-13.
Vols quarterback Jarrett Guarantano had a rough day in the pocket being sacked four times but did manage to connect on 26-of-40 passes for 311 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
Tennessee freshman defensive back Henry To’o To’o had a great day to start off his career as he recorded five and a half tackles in the game.
The announced attendance for the contest was 85,503.
Breakdown of the scoring
* First Quarter
12:00  Georgia State: Seth Paige four-yard run with Brandon Wright booting the PAT.
04:13  Tennessee: Marquez Callaway six-yard pass reception from Jarrett Guarantano with Brett Cimaglia splitting uprights on PAT.
00:09 Tennessee: Ty Chandler 31-yard rushing score with Cimaglia PAT.
Score at end of first quarter: Tennessee 14 Georgia State 7
*Second quarter
03:11  Georgia State: Cornelius McCoy 17-yard scoring pass from Dan Ellington with Wright PAT.
00:00 Tennessee: Cimaglia 19-yard field goal.
Halftime score: Tennessee 17  Georgia State 14
*Third quarter
10:30  Georgia State Aubry Payne six-yard scoring pass from Ellington with Wright PAT.
03:32 Tennessee: Cimaglia 48-yard field goal.
Score at the end of the third quarter: Georgia State 21  Tennessee 20
*Fourth quarter
12:05  Tennessee: Cimaglia 31-yard field goal.
08:56 Georgia State: Tra Barnett 19-yard scoring run with Wright PAT.
04:45 Georgia State: Ellington 22-yard scoring run with Wright PAT.
02:37 Georgia State: Wright 48-yard field goal.
00:02 Tennessee: Jauan Jennings 18-yard scoring pass from Guarantano with Cimaglia PAT.
Team Stats
                                                           GSU                            UT
First downs                                     24                           21
Yards Rushing                               213                          93
Rushing Attempts                           53                          31
Yards Passing                                139                        311
Comp/Att/I                                 11-24-0                 26-40-1
Total Offense                                352                        404
Punts                                            3-112                      1-47
Punt Avg.                                       37.3                         47
Time of Possession                     30:34                    29:26
Penalties                                        5-31                     3-24

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