In news that will surprise no one, the Vols will be led by a true freshman at quarterback again this Saturday.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said on Wednesday after practice that freshman quarterback Brian Maurer will be the Vols’ starter when UT hosts Mississippi State at noon Eastern.
“Brian will be the starting quarterback Saturday,” Pruitt said on Wednesday when asked about Maurer. “I mean, I think everybody would know that, right?”
Pruitt said during his Monday press conference this week that unless Maurer had a bad week of practice, he’d likely be the Vols’ starter at quarterback.
“We’re gonna see how this week goes,” Pruitt said on Monday. “I think he’ll really have to have a bad week of practice not to (be the starter). But we’ll see how the week goes.”
Apparently, Maurer had a good week of practice, so he’ll be making his second-straight start for the Vols at quarterback.
In his first career start, Maurer flashed plenty of potential despite Tennessee losing by four scores to No. 3 Georgia. Maurer helped spark the Vols’ offense in the first half and even led UT to an early 14-10 lead in the second quarter against the Bulldogs. Tennessee even led 14-13 up until the last two minutes of the first half, then Georgia scored twice quickly to end the half and led 26-14. The Bulldogs won 43-14, scoring 33 unanswered points.
Maurer finished 14-of-28 passing for 259 yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and a fumble. His first touchdown pass came on Tennessee’s second possession of the game when the freshman placed a perfect deep ball to a wide open Marquez Callaway for a 73-yard score. His second score came on a bullet pass that was perfectly placed in a tight window to Jauan Jennings from 12 yards out early in the second quarter.
After that, the game turned in Georgia’s favor, and Maurer and UT’s offense failed to get any more points on the board. But Maurer showed enough promise to earn the starting role for at least another game, and he’s given Vol fans hope that Tennessee can find a way to salvage their 2019 season.
Maurer’s 259 passing yards were the second-most by a true freshman in his first career start in school history. The only other true freshman to post better numbers in his debut start was Tyler Bray in 2010. Bray tossed five touchdowns and 325 yards against Memphis on the road in his first start.
Tennessee and Mississippi State will kick-off at noon Eastern in Knoxville on Saturday, October 12th. The game will be televised on SEC Network.