Auburn’s season appears to have ran out of luck on The Plains. One week removed from a loss at Mississippi State where the offense only generated nine points, the Tigers continue to struggle primarily on the offensive side of the ball.
After an impressive 14 play, 75 yard drive to start the game, capped off by a Chandler Cox TD plunge, the offense seemed to be back in a rhythm. Tennessee responded in the second quarter with a 42 yard TD pass to a wide open Ty Chandler, tying the game up 10-10.
Stidham then hit freshman WR Anthony Schwartz for a 76 yard TD pass and Auburn took a 17-13 lead into the half. The second half was a complete disaster however. Auburn could not mustard any scoring drives until the final minute of the game and missed a field goal that would have made the game one possession.
Even though Auburn ended up with 448 yards of total offense, they had 3 turnovers all from Stidham. One of them ended up being the capper, a fumble return touchdown making the game 27-17 late in the third. Tennessee ended up adding a field goal and won the game 30-24.
For Tennessee, this win breaks an 11-game SEC losing streak and is Pruitt's first signature win of his head coaching career. For Auburn, their record now sits at 4-3 and it is safe to say that any championship goals that were aspired at the beginning of the season are over.
After the game, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said:
“I’m very disappointed, but I will say this, our kids fought to the end. I’m proud of our kids’ fight, but obviously, this is a disappointing loss at home. We give Tennessee credit and congratulate them. They had a good plan and their kids fought hard and found a way to win. Like I said, they protected the football and we didn’t. I think at the end of the day, that was really the determining factor of why we lost.”
Coming up next week is a road game against Ole Miss (5-2, 1-2 SEC), who came back to beat Arkansas 37-33 on the road. Ole Miss' only losses this season are to #1 Alabama and #13 LSU.
“Let me tell you, this is not an easy place to win. Nowhere is in the SEC. So to go on the road and win against a really good football team in the SEC, I think it speaks to how far we came as a program in the last 10 months. Things didn’t go our way today all the time, but we’re learning to kind of play the next play, not letting the last play have any effect on the next ones. We’re growing up. I think it’s good for our guys. I’m glad for them. It’s good to see the smiles on their face and I hope they get used to winning.”
- Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt on winning at Jordan-Hare
“We’re used to being down, as you guys know. So we weren’t focused on the scoreboard at all. That’s one of the things that Coach was saying pregame, don’t worry about the scoreboard. Let’s be the most physical team out there and let’s just go play ball.”
- Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano on being down early in the game.
“I’m very disappointed in our performance. I thought we would play better and we had a solid week of practice. I’m disappointed for our players, I’m disappointed for our fans, and I’m not happy.”
- Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn on the loss to Tennessee
“Every day, I’m going to go to work and get better, and I’m going to keep fighting for those guys in that locker room. That’s what it’s completely about for me. I don’t care about the future, I don’t care about the past, I don’t care how great or bad I did last year or how I’ve done up to this point. I’m going to continue to fight for my teammates. My goal personally is to make sure I am doing whatever I can on a daily basis to make sure I can do whatever I can for my team.”
- Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham after the loss to Tennessee