I’m giving a boost here to Jarrett Guarantano for doing a good job of managing the offense and helping the Vols seal the win. Even with that, though, Tennessee’s quarterback play was largely unremarkable. Brian Maurer made a couple really nice throws, and Guarantano made a great toss down the field to Ramel Keyton for 41 yards. But Maurer also made some really bad mistakes, mistakes that aren’t excusable even for a true freshman in his second career start. He’s lucky UT’s defense bailed him out of throwing two end zone interceptions. Guarantano didn’t do anything to lose the game for Tennessee; in fact, he helped the Vols get the win.
As Nathanael gave the boost to the grade for Guarantano’s play, I’m also doing the same. Guarantano won’t receive enough praise for the job he did in the second half because fans have completely checked out on him, but he should. It would’ve been easy for him to fold after losing his starting job. Instead, he bounced back with a very nice performance and helped lead Tennessee to a win over Mississippi State. Guarantano managed the offense well, was great on third down, and most importantly, he didn’t turn the football over.
Maurer was unable to finish the game due to a concussion, but he showed why the coaches have been so high on him. He also why they were hesitant to throw him in the game, too. He made some really nice throws and had some big rushes on the ground, but ultimately, his game will be defined by the two terrible interceptions he threw in the red zone.