Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt yanks QB’s facemask after critical fumble against Alabama – USA TODAY

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Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt yanks QB’s facemask after critical fumble against Alabama – USA TODAY


Nicklaus Gray


Knoxville News Sentinel

Published 1:26 AM EDT Oct 20, 2019

In a weird game filled with questionable officiating, injuries and an unexpectedly close margin, Jarrett Guarantano provided the most bizarre play of them all.

And it was followed by an outburst by Jeremy Pruitt.

On fourth-and-goal from the Alabama 2 in the fourth quarter, with Alabama leading 28-13, Guarantano’s futile attempt at a quick sneak attempt to stretch the football over the pile was smacked away by Alabama linebacker Shane Lee. Trevon Diggs then returned the ball more than 100 yards for a Crimson Tide touchdown, ending any idea of a Vols comeback and upset.

Pruitt’s frustration boiled over by the time Guarantano made it back to the sidelines, where the coach tugging on the junior quarterback’s facemask as he hotly discussed the play.

Was it a planned sneak? ESPN announcers considered that it was a planned conventional run, given that offensive linemen were pulling. That could be the reason why Pruitt was so irate. And it wasn’t the first time that Pruitt had been emotional on the sidelines in his two seasons as the Vols head coach.

Pruitt said about the failed sneak after the game that communication broke down before the play, placing blame on he and the coaching staff. Pruitt did admit that the play execution and result “pissed (Pruitt) off.”

Either way, the Vols’ final chance at clawing back against the No. 1 team in the country was popped up into the air and returned for a touchdown. Pruitt was energetic throughout Saturday’s game, and the fumble by Guarantano pushed him close to the edge.

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