The Tennessee Volunteers downed the Indiana State Sycamores 42-7 on Saturday afternoon. There are several things to take away from the matchup, as redshirt-freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano saw his first playing time as a Volunteer, and Quinten Dormady showed poise and leadership in his second career start at quarterback.
The Volunteer faithful are excited about Guarantano because of his dual-threat ability. Josh Dobbs, Tennessee’s former quarterback, brought a dual-threat dynamic to the field. Many fans think Guarantano, who was the number one dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 recruiting cycle according to 247 sports, has the same capability in the spread offense the Volunteers run.
Guarantano was nailed on his first attempt of the game due to a missed block by left tackle Drew Richmond, and on his second play, showing that he was a little rattled from the big hit on the previous play, Guarantano threw behind tight end Ethan Wolf for an incompletion.
Guarantano went 4-of-12 passing for 41 yards and a touchdown through the air, and finished with two rushing attempts for 6 yards. Guarantano did throw a beautiful bomb down the right sideline to wide receiver Jeff George, but George could not hang on to the ball. George later made up for the drop when he caught a fade pass in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown, which gave Guarantano his first collegiate touchdown pass.
Unfortunately for Guarantano, the quarterback battle might have been put to rest in Atlanta before he even got a shot to prove what he is capable of. It is not what Guarantano did not do, it is what Dormady did do. Dormady showed extreme poise in the Volunteers 42-41 win over Georgia Tech on Labor Day, after only possessing the ball for 18 minutes on offense. For a quarterback who has seen as little playing time as Dormady, rhythm is everything, and Dormady proved what he can do in a short amount of time.
Dormady solidified his starting job with 4:50 remaining in the fourth quarter in the Georgia Tech game. The junior drove the offense 93 yards to tie the game at 28. In that seven-play, 93-yard drive, Dormady hooked up with sophomore wide receiver Marquez Callaway for a 40-yard reception. John Kelly capped the drive off when he scampered into the end zone to tie the game for the Volunteers.
This 93-yard drive solidified Dormady’s control and leadership over the offense, and Butch Jones does not seem to be looking back. Jones listed Dormady as the starter on the depth chart going forward, and this is big news because he had listed Dormady and Guarantano as co-starters leading up to the Florida game.
Dormady finished Saturday’s game 13-of-18 passing for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The Texas native’s next start will be on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET against the Florida Gators (0-1) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Edited by Ben McKee