In a torrential downpour Saturday afternoon, Tennessee added another victory to the ledger by defeating Vandy 28-10. Eric Gray ran rampant against the commodores to the tune of 247 yards on the ground, as well as adding three touchdowns. After an 0-2 start, finishing 7-5 on the year is a huge win for the rebuilding Volunteers.
Both teams were required to rely on their run game with how awful the weather turned out to be, and Tennessee’s offensive and defensive lines did their job. UT rushed for 298 yards as a team, with Gray accounting for 247. Which was good enough to catapult him into the top five for single game rushing yards in Tennessee history. It would be shocking if he isn’t the feature back in the bowl game and moving forward into next season.
Vanderbilt was only able to muster 112 yards on the ground while throwing for 169. Tennessee also recorded multiple sacks on the evening. The Vols were clearly the more talented team and used a big second quarter to build an advantage they refused to relinquish.
The game was an exchange of punts other than two huge runs from Gray. Including a 94 yard run that electrified the 87,000 fans who stood tough through the rain. Jarrett Guarantano managed the game well even though his line wasn’t as pretty. He finished by going 6/17 for 120 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
UT is projected to be a participant in the Outback Bowl against Minnesota on New Years Day. This game will serve as a huge opportunity for Tennessee to announce that the rebuild of the long struggling football program is becoming successful. Which is absolutely insane considering the two upset losses to Georgia State & BYU that kicked off this year’s campaign.
UT will use the extra practices to their advantage as they’ll get to stay together for another month. It also means that seniors Jauan Jennings, Marquez Callaway, Daniel Bituli, and Darrel Taylor haven’t seen their last game in Orange & White. An eight win season seemed absolutely unachievable a few months ago. Now, the sky is the limit and the excitement for next season is immeasurable.