Vols run over Tigers, move to 2-0
Eric Gray rushed for 105 yards and scored twice as No. 21 Tennessee won its eighth consecutive game by beating Missouri 35-12 on Saturday in an SEC game in Knoxville, Tenn.
Jarrett Guarantano passed for 190 yards and rushed for two short touchdowns for the Vols (2-0, 2-0 SEC). Gray carried 16 times while tag-team partner Ty Chandler carried 19 times for 90 yards and a touchdown behind a Tennessee offensive line that controlled the game from the start.
Missouri (0-2, 0-2) did find some offensive spark behind second-string quarterback Connor Bazelak, who entered after the Tigers gained 13 yards on their first two drives under quarterback Shawn Robinson. Bazelak, offering a better passing threat, went the rest of the way, completing 13 of 21 passes for 218 yards, with one interception.
Tennessee extended its lead to 28-6 after its first drive of the second half, helped by a 17-yard pass to Josh Palmer on third-and-10. Guarantano capped the 92-yard drive with a 2-yard rush with 6:27 to go in the third quarter. His second rushing score came on a fourth-and-goal sneak from the 1 with 7:44 left, providing the final margin.
Missouri’s only touchdown came with 2:06 left in third quarter after it converted two fourth-down opportunities during a 10-play, 75-yard drive. The Tigers got into the end zone on a 1-yard pitch to Larry Rountree on fourth-and-goal. The two-point conversion failed.
Tennessee gained 422 yards — 232 on the ground — and converted a total of three fourth-and-1 situations on the team’s first two scoring drives. The Vols took a 14-0 lead on the third play of the second quarter when Gray rushed 20 yards for a score.
Missouri then went with Bazelak, who helped the Tigers claw back with a pair of field goals. A 50-yarder from Harrison Mevis made the score 14-6 with 4:17 to go in the second quarter.
Tennessee responded with a 75-yard drive, capped by Gray’s second score — a 13-yard pass from Guarantano with 44 seconds to go before halftime for a 21-6 lead.
Tennessee lineman Cade Mays, a former starter at Georgia who transferred after last season, started at right guard after the SEC deemed him eligible last week.
–Field Level Media