How sweet it is… Tennessee picks up first SEC win of 2019 over Mississippi St., 20-10

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, October 15, 2019

KNOXVILLE – It was a different scene on Saturday as fans that have exited the stadium early in the first few home games inside Neyland Stadium couldn’t get enough of their Tennessee Volunteers after the Vols big win over Mississippi State, 20-10, before a crowd announced at 85,462.
As the game clock clicked to zero, the players rushed to the band and student section to celebrate and in a show of appreciation for not giving up on a team that has struggled in the early going with only one win up until Saturday’s victory.
“That really was a good team win against a good football team,” said head coach Jeremy Pruitt after the game. “We had some things that didn’t go our way and had a couple of guys get banged up (quarterback Brian Mauer and defensive back Trevon Flowers) that had to leave the game.
“We turned the ball over some there in the first half in the red area which made the game a lot closer in the end. If you get six points there its a totally different deal there. I thought our guys fought really hard.
“They have been busting their tail off all camp trying to play like we did today and I am sure we didn’t play perfect but we found a way to win and that’s one of the things that we have talked about all week.”
Tennessee broke out front in the first quarter when running back Tim Jordan broke some tackles to bull his way into the endzone with 4:56 left in the quarter. Brent Cimaglia split the uprights on the point-after and the Vols led 7-0.
Needing to get on the board after the Tennessee defense had dominated for the first quarter and a half of play, the Bulldogs turned to placekicker Jace Christmann who launched a 51-yard field goal that caught the top portion of the crossbar and fell across good to narrow the lead to 7-3.
The Vols got a scare late in the second quarter when freshman quarterback Brian Mauer was flipped and landed awkwardly face-forward on his neck. He grabbed his head and then bounced back up to the wild cheers from the Tennessee fans who have embraced Mauer as the team’s quarterback.
After throwing his second interception in the end zone, it was later announced Mauer would be out of the game being treated for a possible concussion.
Season starting QB Jarrett Guarantino entered the game much to the dismay of the Vol faithful who wasn’t aware of the injury and from the get-go, it was obvious the red-shirt junior QB was on a short leash mainly handing the football off.
The Vols were able to extend their lead to 10-3 on the final play of the half as Cimagli blasted a 49-yard field goal to keep momentum on Tennessee’s side heading into the locker room.
Out of the half, Cimagli once again was called on with 6:12 on the third-quarter clock and answered that call with a chip-shot 22-yard field goal after a drive stalled out to make it 13-3.
Tennessee fans were holding their breath heading to the fourth quarter as the BYU game was still in the back of their minds where the Vols led before dropping that contest in overtime.
Mississippi State showed they still had fight as they went to a hurry-up offense behind quarterback Garrett Shrader who single-handedly led his Bulldog team down the field with his legs and his feet converting a fourth-down to keep the drive alive before hitting Deddrick Thomas on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 8:27 left to play.
The PAT from Christmann was good and the lead was shaved to 13-10 in favor of UT.
Earlier in the season, Coach Pruitt made a statement that Guarantino would help the team win a game and that was exactly what happened as Guarantano found Tyler Byrd to the left of the Tennessee line and Byrd did the rest racing 39-yards for a score that put the Vols up two scores with only 2:35 remaining after Cimagli’s kick.
The win left the Vols at (2-4, 1-2) while Mississippi State fell to (3-3, 1-2). Tennessee now has the daunting task of preparing for Alabama in Tuscaloosa for their annual third Saturday in October showdown.

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