Half way through the game, many wanted Quinten Dormady out of the Vols lineup. As it turns out, Kirk Herbstreit thinks Butch Jones made the right move all along.
In fact, raise your hand if you are a Tennessee fan who was calling for Jarrett Guarantano during halftime of the Georgia Tech-Tennessee game on Monday night. Herbie would like to have a word with you.
The popular color analyst and ESPN College GameDay personality was on the call for the Vols’ thrilling 42-41 win in double overtime against the Yellow Jackets at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and he was just fine with the Vols sticking with their starting quarterback through a rough first half for the Tennessee offense.
Herbstreit went on live on ESPN’s SportsCenter in the moments following the big victory, and he made a pretty strong endorsement of Dormady in a conversation with Scott Van Pelt:
“There are some good things I saw from Tennessee tonight,” Herbstreit told Van Pelt. “I really liked Dormady at quarterback. I thought early the whole offense was trying to feel themselves and trying to find an identity. And then when they got behind I thought ‘Boy, this is tough to put on this kid’s shoulders.’ By the way, Jauan Jennings is out, and he’s your only real returning receiver with Josh Smith out and injured, and yet the kid made throw after throw and got them back into position to eventually get in to overtime.
Dormady’s first career start had a fairy tale ending. But like any good yarn, it had some ups and downs along the way. The Vols offense held the ball for just 8 minutes in the first half and Tennessee did not hold a lead in the game until the second overtime.
Dormady shook off a slow start to finished the game 20 of 37 for 221 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He found Marquez Callaway for a touchdown twice in a 5-minute span in the second half.
He also helped engineer two touchdown drives in overtime which featured scores by RB John Kelly.
“And, you know, a win like this– as ugly as it was and many yards as they gave up,” Herbstreit continued. “You know from following this sport, when you go into locker room and take a shower, you get on the plane and you fly to Knoxville– something feels good about being 1-0.”
Tennessee will next play Indiana State at home before making a trip to The Swamp to take on SEC East rival Florida.