Tennessee went on the road and grabbed another SEC victory on Saturday night, defeating Missouri 24-20 in Columbia. The victory is the Vols’ fourth-straight win this season, and it gave Tennessee enough wins to qualify for a bowl game this postseason.
The Vols put up some astounding numbers in their victory over Missouri both on offense and defense. Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive ones.
Tennessee’s 526 yards of offense on Saturday against Missouri marked their most all season and their most against an SEC opponent in the Jeremy Pruitt era. The Vols’ total against the Tigers were the most in a single game for Tennessee since UT’s offense accumulated 609 yards against Missouri back in 2016, a 63-37 victory in Knoxville. It was Tennessee’s most offensive yards in a road game since the Vols amassed 684 yards against Texas A&M in a double-overtime loss in 2016.
Saturday’s game marked the 36th time since 2000 that Tennessee has gone over 500 yards of offense as a team in a game. It’s only the second time since 2016 and only the 12th time since the Vols’ record-setting offense in 2012, the last time Jim Chaney was UT’s offensive coordinator.
Jarrett Guarantano’s 415 passing yards against the Tigers were easily a career-high for him, and it marked the most yards by a Vol quarterback since Tyler Bray threw for 530 yards against Troy in 2012. It was the most yards a Vol QB had thrown against an SEC team since Peyton Manning dropped 523 yards against Kentucky in 1997.
For Guarantano, his 415-yard performance is only the eighth time in school history that a Vol quarterback has thrown for 400-plus yards in a game. Only two other quarterbacks have ever thrown for 400-plus yards in UT history, and those two are Tyler Bray (four times) and Peyton Manning (three times). Manning also threw for 399 yards against Southern Miss in 1997.
Heading into Saturday’s game, Missouri had the No. 1 statistical pass defense in the SEC. The Tigers were only giving up 165.9 yards per game through the air before Guarantano exploded for 415 yards. Now, Missouri’s pass defense ranks third in the conference, giving up 188.5 yards a game.
The 415 yards are the most passing yards Missouri has allowed since they gave up 572 yards to Purdue in a 40-37 victory over the Boilermakers last season.
Saturday’s game was the first time in program history that three different Vol receivers totaled 100-plus receiving yards in a game. Josh Palmer (124 yards), Jauan Jennings (115 yards), and Marquez Callaway (110 yards) all eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark against Missouri. For Josh Palmer, his 124 yards were easily a career-high, and Callaway was six yards shy of passing his career-high of 115 yards against Georgia Tech in 2017.
The Vols have now had three games this season where multiple receivers have eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark in the same game. That’s the most in one season since Tennessee had four such games in 1997 with Peyton Manning at quarterback.
6 & 4
With Jauan Jennings’ 115 receiving yards on Saturday, he now has six games of 100-plus receiving yards in his Tennessee career. That’s tied with a host of other Vol receivers for the eighth-most in a career in school history. Four of those 100-plus yard games have come this season, which ties him with several Vols for the seventh-most in a single season.
If Jennings has at least one more 100-plus receiving yard game in Tennessee’s final two games of the 2019 season (vs. Vanderbilt and UT’s bowl game), he’ll move into a tie for the sixth-most 100-yard games in a UT career and in a single season.
Tennessee only allowed 4.24 yards per play to Missouri’s offense on Saturday, marking the lowest yard per play average the Vols have given up to an FBS opponent this season. The previous low was when UT gave up just 4.31 yards a play to UAB three weeks ago. Saturday’s defensive performance was the second-best of the Jeremy Pruitt era in terms of yards allowed per play. The only game that tops it is Tennessee’s 24-7 victory over Kentucky last season when UT gave up only 3.59 yards a play to the Wildcats’ offense.
Counting this season, Tennessee has started a football season with a 1-4 record or worse on five different occasions since joining the SEC in 1933. This year marks the first time in school history that the Vols will be going to a bowl game after starting the season 1-4 or worse.
Tennessee has managed to get back to .500 twice after starting 1-4 or worse. In 1978, the Vols began the year 1-4-1 and finished the year 5-5-1. In 1963, Tennessee started the season 1-4 and finished 5-5. This year, the Vols are guaranteed to go at least 6-6 in the regular season after starting 1-4. Back in 1962, the Vols started with an 0-4 record and finished 4-6, and the 1988 Vols started 0-6 and closed the year on a five-game winning streak to finish 5-6.
With the win on Saturday, the Vols improved to 4-3 in SEC play on the season. The four SEC wins are the most conference victories UT has had in a single season since going 4-4 in 2016, and this season will be the first time since that year that Tennessee finishes a season with at least a .500 record in SEC play. It marks only the third time since 2007 that Tennessee has earned four SEC victories in a single season.
The win also ensured that the Vols will finish third in the SEC East this season. That’s the highest Tennessee has finished in the division since placing second in 2016.
Tennessee’s victory over Missouri in Columbia gave the Vols their second road win against an SEC opponent this season. That marks the first time since 2015 that UT has picked up two SEC road wins in a season, and it’s only the third time since Phillip Fulmer was fired as head coach in 2008 that the Vols have gotten two road wins against SEC teams in a season.