How many of you had Tennessee beating South Carolina by 20 points?
Now, how many of you thought they would do it through the air without Brian Maurer? That’s exactly what they did tonight, using both Jarrett Guarantano and JT Shrout. Jeremy Pruitt commented at the break that he wanted a more aggressive gameplan in the second half — perhaps that was a message to Jim Chaney?
Whatever it was, Chaney got the memo. Tennessee’s veteran play-caller was aggressive for much of the night, attacking down the field with whatever he had under center. Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway were complete monsters tonight, breaking the game open and getting behind the South Carolina secondary.
Guarantano took over after the first drive for JT Shrout, who started the game for Tennessee. Following what had been a tough week for Guarantano after that botched quarterback sneak in Tuscaloosa, the junior passer delivered for his team tonight.
“How he responded after last week — he owned it,” Jeremy Pruitt said of Guarantano. “And come out here tonight and done a fantastic job. Come off the bench and gave us a spark with his leadership and his trust.”
Guarantano was accurate, efficient and aggressive — three things he wasn’t earlier in the year. He finished the day 11-19 for 229 yards and two touchdowns before exiting due to injury.
Shout picked up where he left off, loading up and launching this strike to Callaway.
In his first real action against a legitimate opponent, Shrout was 7-11 for 122 yards and a touchdown. The moment wasn’t too big for him and the offense didn’t seem to change one bit.
“I thought JT got better as the game went, as far as handling the offense,” Pruitt said after the game. “Threw a couple of balls out of bounds. JT’s got really good arm talent. It was good for him to get an opportunity to play, and I thought he played pretty well in spurts. Made a couple of nice throws, so that was good to see.”
Tennessee ended the night with 485 total yards on 68 plays. Shrout and Guarantano ended with a combined 351 yards passing, totalling three touchdowns. Jauan Jennings converted seven of eight targets for 174 yards and two scores. Marquez Callaway also went over 100 yards, catching three passes for 102 yards.
This passing attack was humming, and South Carolina had no answer for it. When’s the last time you could say that about a Tennessee offense?
Tennessee will look to keep building on this momentum with another home game next weekend against UAB.