Tennessee jumped out to a 21-0 lead over Chattanooga in the first eight minutes of Saturday’s game at Neyland Stadium. As a result, Vols’ quarterback Jarrett Guarantano only threw eight passes in a 45-0 drubbing of the Mocs.
Guarantano came under harsh criticism for his passing performance in Tennessee’s first two games of the season: an embarrassing loss to Georgia State in the home opener and a double-overtime defeat to BYU the following weekend. In both games, Guarantano struggled to make proper reads and failed to find open receivers, many times opting to check down to a receiver in the flats.
It was critical for the Vols to beat Chattanooga to have a hope of saving their season. Tennessee fans also hoped to see an improvement from Guarantano as the team prepares for their SEC opener against Florida in Gainesville on Sept. 21.
At a glance, it seems Guarantano improved from the first two games of the season. However, due to limited snaps (Guarantano only appeared in four series) and the quality of the opponent (UTC is an FCS school), it’s difficult to say if any progress was made.
Guarantano was an impressive 7 for 8 passing (87.5%) for 142 yards and 3 touchdowns against Chattanooga, racking up an astronomical 361.4 passer rating.
After rewatching the game, one thing is evident. Guarantano is clearly the best quarterback on the Tennessee roster right now. Backups J.T. Shrout and Brian Mauer struggled in the passing game: Shrout finished the day 3 for 9 for 23 yards, while Mauer was 0 for 2 passing.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt made it clear to the media on Monday that Guarantano will be QB1 for the foreseeable future in Knoxville.
“There’s no doubt, if you’ve been around our program for the last six months, who the best quarterback on our team is,” said Pruitt in his weekly press conference.
Because of the small sample size, there isn’t much to glean from a passing analysis of Guarantano’s game Saturday. Come back next week for a complete break down of Guarantano’s performance in the Swamp.