Following a failed goal-line sneak by Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, head coach Jeremy Pruitt made no efforts to hide his rage. He met the QB at the sideline, pointing and yelling about what ultimately turned into an Alabama touchdown. To finish off the interaction, Pruitt was seen sticking his finger in Guarantano's face mask and tugging downward.
Trailing Alabama 28-13 with less than eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Pruitt and Tennessee opted for the potential touchdown instead of kicking a field goal. At the snap, the QB in Guarantano took the football and tried to go up and over the line of scrimmage and reach the end zone. However, he fumbled the ball, which an Alabama defender picked up and ran for a 100-yard touchdown.
Unable to recover from this game-changing play, Tennessee ultimately lost the SEC battle 35-13. A touchdown would have made this a one-score game late in the fourth quarter, but the play instead served as the final nail in the proverbial coffin.
What is this sticking his finger in Guarantano’s face mask? Not good. pic.twitter.com/3P8NfFv3IH— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 20, 2019
"It wasn't deflating, it pissed me off," Pruitt said during his postgame press conference. "I don't know about you, but it pissed me off. We just put a great drive together and really ran the ball at will. I would have liked to see us get the ball in there and seen what we could have done. There's lots of things that didn't go our way in the game. Some of it we controlled, some of it we didn't."
As he continued to explain, the Tennessee head coach felt that the critical mistake was made in how the sneak was handled. The Volunteers had run two separate sneaks earlier in the battle, finding success, so he believed that there was an avenue for scoring on this critical play.0comments
That being said, where Pruitt felt the situation went wrong is when Guarantano opted to go up and over the pile in the attempt to score. As Pruitt said to reporters, the offensive line had helped put a dent in Alabama's front seven, so the quarterback should have simply put his head down and pushed through the pile.
Ultimately, this did not happen, and Alabama was able to turn the fumble into points in this game. Instead of potentially drawing closer to an upset, the Volunteers instead lost and fell to 2-5 on the season. This dropped them to fifth in the SEC East and clearly knocked them out of contention.