KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – On a day meant to honor Tennessee’s seniors, it was a true freshman who stole the show at Neyland Stadium in the Vols 28-10 win over Vanderbilt.
Eric Gray’s 246-yard outing lead Tennessee to its first seven-win season since 2016.
Gray went into Saturday’s contest with 207 total rushing yards, he’d double that by the time he left Neyland. The freshman running back tallied three touchdowns and 246 rushing yards, the most by a true freshman in UT history and the fifth most ever by a Vol.
The Tennessee native’s first score came with 3:22 to play in the first quarter. Gray’s 56-yard rushing touchdown, at the time, was the longest rushing attempt from the Vols all season. Tennessee took a 7-3 lead that held through the first quarter.
Red-shirt junior Jarrett Guarantano found senior Dominick Wood-Anderson for a six-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give Tennessee a 14-3 lead.
Gray’s second rushing touchdown, a record-setter. Vanderbilt’s punt pinned the Vols at their own 6-yard line, Gray needed just one touch to put Tennessee in the opposite end-zone. Gray’s 94-yard rushing touchdown is the longest run in Vol Football history, surpassed only by Kelsey Finch’s 99-yard run at Florida on October 22nd, 1977.
Tennessee led Vanderbilt 21-3 at the break.
Minutes into the fourth quarter, the Commodores made it an 11-point game after Riley Neal connect with Kalija Lipscomb for 22 yards for a touchdown.
The Commodores proximity to Tennessee in score would last just seven plays. The final Gray score of the night, less impressive from a yardage standpoint than his first two, a six-yard score midway through the fourth quarter to put Tennessee up 28-10.
Tennessee (7-5) will return to the practice field while awaiting their bowl pairing.