It’s odd to give a failing grade to a guy who threw two touchdowns passes and completed over 60 percent of his passes. But Jarrett Guarantano had his most embarrassing game yet as Tennessee football’s starting quarterback. His only touchdown pass in regulation was a tipped pass that should have been intercepted but Jauan Jennings came up with. He put the BYU Cougars back in the game with an interception thrown into triple-coverage in the third quarter. And he missed wide open throws all night. Saturday marked the first time fans began to legitimately question why Guarantano remains the starter, and that could be an issue going forward.
Running Backs: B+
Ty Chandler had a great day, carrying the ball 26 times for 154 yards, and Eric Gray added 77 yards on 17 carries. It was a great rushing attack altogether, but we can’t give it an A. That’s because lots of their carries were due to great blocking on the outside, and Chandler and Gray both kept failing to elude tacklers in open space, which is supposed to be the biggest strength for both of them. If they could have, then the Vols would have had two more touchdowns in regulation.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B+
Jauan Jennings alone gets an A+, catching two touchdown passes, one of which should have been intercepted. But Josh Palmer came through as well with 56 receiving yards, and Marquez Callaway added 22. On top of that, the blocking by the tight ends was dramatically improved, and that’s a major plus. This unit would have gotten an A if it had more chances to shine, but Jarrett Guarantano didn’t let that happen.
Offensive Line: C+
When it comes to blocking on the outside, the unit gets an A+. Jarrett Guarantano was only sacked once, and they cleared lots of running plays for Ty Chandler and Eric Gray, which is why Jim Chaney kept going to the toss plays. However, the interior blocking remains an issue, and it’s why the Vols were so bad on 3rd and 4th and short. The good news for Rocky Top is that unit did improve, but it was still bad enough to keep this from being anything above the C range.
Overall Offensive Grade: C-
The quarterback play alone was so bad that we had to give the Tennessee football offense a slightly below average grade. That’s how crucial quarterbacks can be. This grade comes despite over 400 yards of offense.