AUBURN — Kevin Steele’s defense holds itself to a certain standard, and it did not live up to that high bar Saturday.
Tennessee’s offense scored as many points in Jordan-Hare Stadium (23) than Auburn has allowed in any game this season, matching Mississippi State's total from last week.
The other seven were scored when the Volunteers returned a Jarrett Stidham fumble for a touchdown.
Add them all together and it was a 30-24 loss for the No. 21-ranked Tigers that ended Tennessee’s 11-game losing streak against SEC opponents.
Vols quarterback Jarrett Guarantano became the first 300-yard passer against that defense since UCF’s McKenzie Milton in last year’s Peach Bowl. He hit 11 passes of 10 or more yards, including six of 20 or more.
Ty Chandler hauled in a 42-yard touchdown, and Jajuan Jennings a 25-yard score in the third quarter that gave the visitors their first lead of the afternoon.
Tennessee also went 10 of 19 converting on third down. Auburn entered the game ranked 10th nationally allowing teams to convert at just a 28.1-percent rate.
Auburn running back JaTarvious Whitlow left Saturday’s game with an injury. It’s not clear if it was related to the left shoulder ailment that forces him from a game against Southern Miss two weeks ago and left him limited at Mississippi State last week.
Malzahn said he was “full-go” during practice in the week leading up to the game.
The redshirt freshman was hurt trying to recover a fumble by quarterback Jarrett Stidham late in the third quarter and went to the locker room with trainers immediately.
Whitlow finished the game with 42 rushing yards on 12 carries and added one catch for 3 yards.
Cornerback Jamel Dean went to the locker room in the first half and did not appear to return to the game in the second. Noah Igbinoghene and Javaris Davis played cornerback, with Christian Tutt and Jordyn Peters at nickel.
Defensive end Marlon Davidson suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury in the third quarter and had to be helped off the field by trainers.
Davidson emerged from the medical tent, tested his leg on the sideline and went back into the game with the field-goal block unit on an extra point, but did not appear to play another snap on defense.
Nick Coe, Big Kat Bryant and T.D. Moultry handled the reps at defensive end and buck the rest of the way.
Back to normal
Right tackle Jack Driscoll returned to Auburn’s starting offensive line Saturday after sitting out last week’s loss at Mississippi State with a leg injury.
Calvin Ashley, who started in place of Driscoll against the Bulldogs last week, did not dress Saturday due to a medical issue, according to multiple reports.
—Auburn safety Jeremiah Dinson was ejected for targeting in the third quarter.
—Anders Carlson missed a 54-yard field goal, making him 1 for 8 from 50 or more yards this season.
—Davidson blocked a field goal in a second straight game.