Haltime Report: Tennessee 21 Vanderbilt 3
Knoxville Tn.- The Vanderbilt Commodores got the start they wanted here in Knoxville. After kicking off the the Tennessee Volunteers, Jalen Mahoney stepped in front of a Vol receiver and intercepted Jarrett Guarantano's pass at the Volunteer 25 yard line.
Unfortunately for the Commodores their offense could produce little, forcing head coach Derek Mason to settle for a 41 yard Ryley Guay field goal to give Vanderbilt an early 3-0 advantage.
For the next eight minutes, the two teams would exchange punts until Eric Gray found a hole off the left side of the Volunteers offensive line and raced 56 yards to the endzone to put Tennessee on the board and give them their first lead of the afternoon.
Brent Cimaglia knocked in the extra point to give the Vols a 7-0 lead with 3:04 left in the opening quarter.
Through the first 15 minutes, Vanderbilt's Riley Neal was 5-8 for 23 yards while his counterpart, Guarantano was just 1 of 8 for 6 yards in the period.
The second quarter started with a near disaster for the Commodores as a punt snap sailed over the head of punter Harrison Smith at the Commodores 20 yard line. Smith was able to retrieve it and get a low, line drive punt away that settled at the Commodores 47 yard line.
It wouldn't take the Volunteers offense long to cover the 47 yards to the endzone where Guarantano connected with tight end Dominic Wood-Anderson on a 6 yard strike to complete the 7 play drive.
Again it was Cimaglia connecting on the point after to extend the Tennessee advantage to 14-3 with 10:52 remaining in the first half.
The Volunteers would then apply the dagger to the COmmodores when with 8:51 remaining in the half, Gray took off, untouched through the right side and raced 96 yards for his second touchdown run of the game.
Gray's run was the second longest in the history of Tennessee football, second only to a 99 yard run by Kelsey Finch in 1977 against Florida.
The run also put Gray, a Memphis native over the century mark in the first half, with 6 carries for 171 yards and two scores.
Cimaglia's third point after increased the Tennessee lead to 21-3 with 8:36 left in the half.