Vols cruise to Senior Day win over Vandy

Published 1:26 am Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Knoxville – Saturday evening at Neyland Stadium checked many things off the box for the Tennessee Volunteers’ 2019 season.
It was a day to honor the seniors who have contributed to the Vols football program, the last regular-season game this year, and maybe most importantly, it was rivalry weekend for the University of Tennessee as they took on the in-state rival Vanderbilt Commodores.
The Volunteers were seeking their first win against Vandy since the 2015 season and thanks to help from the seniors who were honored before the game, Tennessee was able to do just that as they went on to beat the Commodores 28-10.
It didn’t take long for the action to take off as on the Vols first drive a pass from Jarrett Guarantano was intercepted by the Commodores just outside the red zone at the 30-yard line.
However, Vandy wasn’t able to get anything going as a big stop on third down by Daniel Bituli and Nigel Warrior forced a field goal from Ryley Guay to give the visitors a 3-0 lead in the first.
Things would become a stalemate until late in the first quarter when Eric Gray was able to find a seam up the middle on a 56-yard touchdown run followed by a boot from Brent Cimaglia to give the Volunteers a 7-3 lead.
Early in the second period, the Volunteer offense would strike again when Guarantano would pitch the ball to Dominick Wood-Anderson while under pressure for 14 yards.
With the ball on the 12-yard line, an unsportsmanlike conduct on the defense would bring the ball inside the ten to the six-yard line.
Guarantano would find Wood-Anderson once more on the next play, this time for a six-yard touchdown pass giving the Vols a 14-3 lead.
Soon after, Gray would show off the jets once again on a 94-yard rush to set a single-game rushing record for a Tennessee freshman to tack on six more for his team making it a 21-3 ball game halfway through the second quarter and eventually carrying that edge into the break.
The game would remain a 21-3 contest in favor of Tennessee throughout the third quarter but five minutes into the final quarter, the Commodores’ Riley Neal would find Kalija Lipscomb in the endzone from 22 yards out to draw closer to the Volunteers, 21-10.
Guarantano and the Volunteers responded on the next drive when the QB found a wide-open Jauan Jennings for a gain of 50 yards bringing the ball down to the three-yard line.
The next play would result in Gray’s third touchdown on the night as he would scamper from three yards out to widen the gap to 28-10.
After yet another lightning delay, there was not much else to say as the Volunteers had closed the game out, sending the seniors out at home with a 28-10 victory against Vandy.
Following his team’s big win over their in-state rival, head coach Jeremy Pruitt said,” First off, I want to thank the fans that stuck through lots of rain delays. It wasn’t the best weather in the world, but our fan base hung in there and stuck with us.
“It was a great send-off for these seniors, starting with the Vol Walk and then running through the ‘T’ for the last time. I know it meant a lot to these guys. These guys have put in a whole lot of time and effort in getting Tennessee football at where it needs to be.
“I can’t say enough about the players and the seniors and the leadership that they have provided throughout the course of the year. We were 1-4 and probably nobody gave us much hope. But these guys stayed the course and stuck together.”
Gray finished the game with 246 yards and three touchdowns on 25 attempts, setting a new single-game record for most yards by a true freshman in Volunteer history.
Guarantano completed 6 pass attempts for 120 yards and a touchdown while Wood-Anderson finished with 45 receiving yards along with a score and Jennings finished with 56.

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