Tennessee had several standout performers on Saturday in their 41-21 victory over South Carolina. Three of those players were recognized on Monday as some of the best players in the SEC over the weekend.
Wide receiver Jauan Jennings, offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy, and linebacker Daniel Bituli all earned SEC Player of the Week awards on Monday. Jennings was named the co-SEC Offensive Player of the Week along with Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden, Bituli earned co-SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors with LSU’s Jacoby Stevens, and Kennedy was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week.
For Jennings, Saturday was a career day. The redshirt senior posted a career-high 174 receiving yards and tied career-highs in receptions (7) and touchdowns (2) while also taking snaps at quarterback out of the Wildcat formation. Jennings totaled 18 rushing yards on five carries as a QB, giving him nearly 200 yards of offense in the game. Jennings made huge grab after huge grab against South Carolina, and he put on a show.
His offensive teammate, redshirt senior center Brandon Kennedy, earned the highest grade of any of UT’s offensive linemen on Saturday. He was part of an O-line that didn’t give up a single sack to a stout Carolina front seven, and he neutralized South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw.
Coming into Saturday’s game, South Carolina had 17 sacks on the year. They got none against the Vols, marking the first time all season the Gamecocks failed to record a sack in a game.
On defense, Daniel Bituli played arguably the best game of his Tennessee career. The senior inside linebacker totaled 15 tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass breakup, and a quarterback hurry. But his impact went beyond just the defensive side of the ball; the senior backer blocked a punt and recovered that blocked kick in the end zone for the Vols’ final touchdown of the game.
Bituli was a big reason Tennessee was able to limit South Carolina to just 78 rushing yards and 2.6 yards per carry as a team.
That wasn’t it for the weekly awards for the Vols, though.
Tennessee players were littered throughout the Pro Football Focus College SEC Teams of the Week on Monday. On their Defensive Team of the Week, four different Vols earned honors. Bituli made the team along with redshirt senior linebacker Darrell Taylor, redshirt sophomore linebacker Kivon Bennett, and senior safety Nigel Warrior. Both Jennings and redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano both made the SEC Offensive Team of the Week for PFF. For Guarantano, his performance against South Carolina was one of his highest-graded performances of his career on PFF.
The Vols will get a chance to build off Saturday’s huge win when they host UAB for homecoming this upcoming weekend. Kick-off set for 7:00 PM Eastern on November 2nd in Neyland Stadium.