Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019; Faurot Field; Columbia, Mo.
Two weeks after that win over the Kentucky Wildcats, Tennessee football had another road showdown. The Vols were coming off a bye at 5-5. Although a bowl was now likely with a bad Vanderbilt Commodores team to close out the year, winning this game could cinch it and make a winning season likely.
That’s not bad for a team that started 0-2 with losses to the Georgia State Panthers and BYU Cougars and eventually fell to 1-4 and 2-5. UT was on a roll and just had to continue it. To do that, they would have to beat a team that blew them out the previous two years and had former Vols head coach Derek Dooley in his second year as offensive coordinator.
Anyway, this was the Jarrett Guarantano show. After being benched due to poor play at the beginning of the year, he finally earned his starting spot back thanks to that Kentucky game. Well, he delivered, throwing for 415 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a close battle.
Guarantano created three 100-yard receivers in Josh Palmer, Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway, and Jennings and Callaway each had touchdowns, both of which were go-ahead scores. Simply put, the guy was cutch.
Once again, the defense came away with a fourth down stop late, and once again, Guarantano executed on a third down pass to seal the game. UT was above .500 after a horrendous start, and it was one of the best stories of the year.