Jarrett Guarantano wasn’t spectacular. He struggled at times under pressure. But he never turned the ball over and finished 19-of-25 for 172 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. That touchdown, by the way, was on a fourth-down play to Dominick Wood-Anderson. Throughout the day, Guarantano did what the coaches asked of him, and he was fine. Given what he was dealing with, nothing that happened Saturday was his fault.
Running Backs: C+
Tim Jordan rushing for 118 yards on 20 carries, good for nearly six yards a carry, would seem to warrant a better grade for this. That’s especially true when you consider the Tennessee football running backs combining for 21 receiving yards. However, the Vols had nobody else average even three yards a carry. Madre London and Jeremy Banks both averaged under two and a half yards. Ty Chandler, before getting hurt, averaged minus-one yard a carry. So overall, this unit could actually get a D. But Jordan’s play allowed it to receive a C+. We can’t give it a B, though.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: C+
In a manner similar to the running backs, this is kind of unfair. Tennessee football’s wide receivers and tight ends did what they were asked and had almost no mistakes. Dominick Wood-Anderson had the one touchdown reception of the day. Marquez Callaway, meanwhile, had 85 yards receiving. However, while they didn’t do anything bad, they didn’t do anything spectacular either. This unit needed to make more splash plays against WVU, and the failure to do so is why they got a C+ in this game.
Offensive Line: F
I rarely give out F’s. Even if a unit performed extremely poorly, I would almost always give it a D. But the offensive line stood out with how awful they were Saturday. Even on the first play, center Brandon Kennedy, who is actually familiar with the pro-style, blew a block and almost caused a fumble on Jarrett Guarantano. Drew Richmond missed some blocks on the right side, and the running backs always had to bounce outside and use their vision to play. The Vols couldn’t get a push on the one-yard line one drive, so they had to throw, and another drive in the red zone stalled because of this. Pruitt noted that this unit was just recently put together, and they do deserve a break for that. But we still have to note the line play was awful.
Overall offensive grade: D
Tennessee football’s historically bad offensive line play caused this team to only score 14 points. And that was against a West Virginia Mountaineers defense that’s awful. As a result, the unit gets a D as a whole. They needed to shoulder the load in this game, and they came up extremely short.