(AP) – Jarrett Guarantano threw for 415 yards and two touchdown passes to lead Tennessee to a 24-20 victory over Missouri on Saturday night.
Tennessee (6-5, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) has won four straight games and is bowl eligible for the first time since 2016. Missouri (5-6, 2-5) has lost its last five.
After coming off the bench the previous six games, Guarantano started the game and completed 23 of 40 passes. Josh Palmer had six receptions for 124 yards. Jauan Jennings added five catches for 115 yards and a touchdown, and Martez Callaway had six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown.
When Tucker McCann made a 30-yard field goal to cap Missouri’s first drive, it was the first time the Tigers have led in a game since an Oct. 12 victory over Mississippi. Kelly Bryant completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Badie in the second quarter for the Tigers’ first TD in 32 drives.
Bryant finished 16-of-28 passing for 166 yards.
Tennessee took a 14-10 lead late in the second quarter on a drive in which it made four third-down conversions and was capped by Guarantano’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Jennings, who broke three tackles to get into the end zone.
The Volunteers took over on their own 24 with 38 seconds left in the half, and Guarantano moved them crisply down the field to set up Brent Cimaglia’s 27-yard field goal as time expired to give Tennessee a 17-10 halftime lead.
Missouri tied the game in third quarter on a trick play. Bryant threw a backward pass to Micah Wilson, who found a wide-open Badie in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown. Wilson began his career as a quarterback before switching to wide receiver after last season.
Tennessee reclaimed the lead for good at 24-17 after Callaway grabbed a 17-yard touchdown pass from Guarantano despite being interfered with on the play.
The Volunteers converted 9 of 15 third downs and outgained the Tigers 526-280.