Tennessee snapped an 11-game SEC losing streak Saturday afternoon in Jordan-Hare Stadium, upsetting No. 21 Auburn 30-24. The loss dropped the Tigers out of the AP Top 25 poll for the first time in two years.
Here’s the Monday morning report card.
Jarrett Stidham’s NFL Draft stock is plummeting. Turnovers continue to put the Tigers into early holes, and Saturday was no different, with the junior quarterback accounting for three by himself.
Stidham threw two crucial interceptions in the first half, both of which should have been thrown away, with the first one setting up a quick Tennessee game-tying touchdown. He also fumbled in the third quarter trying to elude pressure, which led to a Volunteers’ scoop-and-score and a 27-17 lead. Stidham finished 28-of-45 with 322 yards passing and two touchdowns.
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It was an uneventful day for the running backs. The Tigers broke their three-game streak of less than 100 yards on the ground, rushing for 126 yards, but failed to account for a touchdown. The lone rushing touchdown came from Chandler Cox on the first drive of the game.
JaTarvious Whitlow led the team with 12 carries for 42 yards, while Malik Miller added six carries for 32 yards and six receptions for 57 yards out of the backfield.
Anthony Schwartz and Seth Williams are the only reasons the wide receivers get this generous of a grade. Both are freshman, and both continue to be the only players to step up and make plays for this offense.
Williams led the team with five receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. Schwartz had two receptions for 83 yards, most of which came on a 76-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter after he broke a tackle and outran the Tennessee defenders down the sideline. Ryan Davis also added six receptions for 52 yards.
OFFENSIVE LINE: D
Stidham is to blame for his turnovers, but the rest of the offense’s ineffectiveness comes down to the offensive line. This offensive line has been one of the worst units in the conference all season and continue to show no improvement week to week.
Stidham had little to no time to set his feet and throw all afternoon, and both of his interceptions were with Volunteer defenders all over him. Auburn only had five penalties which is somewhat of an improvement, but Stidham was sacked twice and had seven carries for -7 yards.
FRONT SEVEN: B-
The Auburn front seven was the only thing keeping them in the game. Turnovers gifted the Tennessee offense short field position all afternoon, but the Tigers’ defensive line didn’t break. The Tigers had three sacks while holding the Volunteers to only 68 yards on the ground, and no rushing touchdowns all day.
The secondary, however, was not at its best.
Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano sliced up the Auburn defensive backs, throwing for 328 yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers didn’t always look to be in bad position, but they just weren’t finishing plays on 50-50 balls in the air.
Play after play, Tennessee would convert third-and-long to extend a drive and Volunteer receivers would win jump balls down the sideline. Auburn had no answer.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Anders Carlson continues to miss field goals his older brother regularly converted. Carlson is only a freshman, but he is now 1-for-8 on the season on field goal attempts from over 50 yards, and some of them haven’t even been close.
He missed a 54-yard attempt way right Saturday that would have cut the Tennessee lead to single digits in the fourth quarter. The only bright spot of the day was Marlon Davidson’s blocked field goal in the second quarter, his second in two weeks.
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