KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee topped Mississippi State 20-10 in what was the Vols’ first SEC win of the season on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Vols freshman quarterback Brian Maurer, who was making his second career start, left the game in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury.
GALLERY: Tennessee beats Mississippi State
Before leaving the game, Maurer was 4-7 with 61 passing yards to go with 41 yards on three carries. But the quarterback tossed two interceptions in the end zone as well.
Before Maurer’s second interception, Tennessee would get on the board in its second possession. Tim Jordan capped off an 8-play drive with a 15 yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Tennessee’s defense gave the Vols a boost early on as Kenneth George and Trevon Flowers each recorded their first career interceptions. Like Maurer, Flowers would also leave the game with an undisclosed injury.
When Jarrett Guarantano replaced Maurer, Tennessee ran the ball on nine consecutive plays that stretched over multiple drives before the redshirt junior attempted a pass.
After Tennessee and Mississippi State traded field goals in the second quarter, Brent Cimaglia extended the Vols’ lead in the third to 13-3 with a 22 yard chip shot.
Mississippi State started to steal the momentum in the fourth quarter. Garrett Shrader, who started the second half at quarterback after Tommy Stevens started the game for the Bulldogs, gave Tennessee troubles on the ground.
Shrader picked up 28 yards on six carries before he connected with Deddrick Thomas for a 17-yard touchdown, cutting Tennessee’s lead to 13-10 with less than nine minutes left in the game.
But Tennessee would respond. Guarantano connected with senior wide receiver Tyler Byrd for a 39 yard touchdown to seal the deal with 2:35 remaining in the game.
Tennessee travels to Tuscaloosa for The Third Saturday in October. The Vols will take on No. 1 Alabama Saturday, Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. ET.