Fortunately for Jarrett Guarantano and the Tennessee Volunteers, the incumbent quarterback only threw three interceptions throughout the entire 2018 season. However, he only threw 12 touchdowns, good for 86th in the country.
In this three part series, I am going to break down each one of Guarantano’s interceptions. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a playbook nor do I have inside info to the play on display. This is purely what I think happened based on personal knowledge and the development of the play.
I’ll start with the least-cringeworthy interception and make my way up to the most vomit-inducing interception. Today, we begin with the least-cringeworthy pick.
The first interception occurs against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the 2018 season finale.
Tennessee is already in a terrible situation, down 17-0 and facing a 3rd and 10 inside its own territory. The Commodores have pounded both the Vols and Guarantano up until this point.
Guarantano, for what it’s worth, has also taken a beating all season long.
With just :26 seconds on the clock before halftime, the Vols need a big play. So, they come out in an empty formation with trips to the right. Vanderbilt is in dime with two down linemen and two deep safeties showing Cover 2, but this isn’t new to Guarantano.
Vanderbilt had shown this look the past few plays and sent a four-man rush each time. Considering down, distance, and time left on the clock - this situation should be no different.
And sure enough, Vandy sends four after JG, but Tennessee’s offensive line fails to pick up the inside stunt and Guarantano has about 2.5 seconds to make a decision. Additionally, he is unable to step into the throw due to the inside pressure, causing him to throw flat-footed as he attempts to hit Marquez Callaway on the post.
Vanderbilt drops into Cover 3 at the snap and the end result is a bad throw that is easily intercepted by the safety playing centerfield. The Commodores also got away with DPI on Callaway that is shown in the GIF below.
The inability to defend a four-man rush and the missed interference call bail Guarantano out, but he also should’ve made the more cautious throw to the sideline — where he had a receiver to avoid a intentional grounding call — in order to avoid the potential turnover.
Watch for part two coming soon.