“I’m happy for our players to finally experience victory,” Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said in his opening. “Our defense did a good job of taking the ball away. We turned that into 14 points. We were 4-4 in the redzone with three of those being touchdowns. That’s what it takes to play winning football.”
Tennessee led 10-3 early in the second half until Southern Miss gifted the Vols with two turnovers inside of the Tennessee 20 yard line. The Volunteer offense got 14 points off of those two opportunities, ultimately deciding the fate of this game as they won 24-10.
“We had six individuals available tonight,” Jones said of the offensive line. Drew Richmond, Marcus Tatum and Brett Kendrick all didn’t play against Southern Miss, forcing Tennessee to shuffle things in a big way. Jones said that it was the worst injury situation that he had ever been through with an offensive line.
Perhaps a casualty of that situation was Jarrett Guarantano, who exited the game late in the second half with what appeared to be a foot or an ankle injury. Butch Jones wouldn’t give specifics on the injury when pressed.
He did admit that Guarantano could have returned to the game, however.
“He could have come back in at the end of the game, but where we were at we had a lot of confidence in Will (McBride),” Jones said.
“We have another great challenge. We’re playing one of the hottest teams in the country (Missouri). It’s gonna be a challenge. But again, it’s a lot easier to prepare coming off of a win,” Jones said.
Jones finished by thanking the media and telling them to “enjoy a win.”
As Butch mentioned, Tennessee’s next game will be on the road at Missouri. The Tigers are fresh off of a blowout win over the Florida Gators. I don’t know about the “hottest team in the country” comment, but Missouri is playing much better football than they were a month ago.
We’ll see if Tennessee is good enough — or healthy enough to hang with them next weekend.