Orange & White Nation

Vols snap 11-game losing streak in SEC with 30-24 win at No. 21 Auburn

Tennessee snapped an 11-game losing streak in the SEC on Saturday with an 30-24 win over No. 21 Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The win, Tennessee's first in the conference since Nov. 19, 2016 against Missouri, also marks the first for Jeremy Pruitt as a head coach.

Auburn had its way with the Vols on its opening drive, driving 75 yards in 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead before Tennessee answered back. UT, who had multiple 18 yard rushes from Ty Chandler and Tim Jordan in the first drive, got on the board with a 42 yard field goal by Brent Cimaglia. The Tigers would respond with a 20 yard field goal on the next possession to push the lead back to seven.

Tennessee was dealt a brief momentum killer when Cimaglia's second field goal attempt was blocked. Marlon Davidson got a hand on the 48 yard attempt to give Auburn the ball near midfield. But two plays later, Tennessee's defense came up big. Vols freshman cornerback Bryce Thompson intercepted Jarrett Stidham and Tennessee's offense took advantage. Jarrett Guarantano found a wide open Ty Chandler across the middle for a 42 yard touchdown strike to knot the game at 10-10. It was the sophomore running back's second receiving touchdown in the past two games and longest reception of his career.

Tennessee's early momentum carried over to Auburn's next possession when Stidham was picked off again, this time by Jonathan Kongbo. The outside linebacker was in the right place at the right time as Baylen Buchanan put pressure on Stidham. Rather than stepping on the gas, though, Tennessee's offense went three-and-out on its next possession, causing a quick turnaround for the Vol defense. Two plays later, Stidham connected with Anthony Schwartz for a 76 yard touchdown to regain the lead.

Tennessee would go into halftime trailing 17-13 after Cimaglia drilled a 45 yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Neither team's offense came out of the break hot. Tennessee turned the ball over on downs before the Tigers punted back to the Vols. But Tennessee would settle in. Guarantano ended a 12-play drive with a 25 yard touchdown pass to Jauan Jennings to put Big Orange in front 20-17. Entering Saturday, Guarantano's career high for passing yards in a game was 242 against Kentucky in 2017. The touchdown pass gave the redshirt sophomore a new high, putting him at 265 yards in the third quarter.

While Guarantano put himself in the spotlight, Stidham continued to struggle for the Tigers. The junior quarterback fumbled after being sacked by Kyke Phillips and Alexis Johnson Jr. Alontae Taylor recovered the loose ball for a touchdown, stunning the home crowd and giving the Vols a 10-point lead.

 


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