In an unprecedented losing streak, for a program that launched in the 1890s and has staked its claim to six national championships, Tennessee for the first time ever lost its fifth-straight game by double-digits Saturday night at Auburn.

In succession, since the second weekend of October, the Vols have lost by 23 (Georgia), 27 (Kentucky), 31 (Alabama), 11 (Arkansas) and 13 (Auburn).

That’s five consecutive losses by 105 total points. That’s 14 losses by 11-plus points in the 32 games that comprise the Jeremy Pruitt Era at Tennessee, from 2018 to present.

Pruitt’s 15-17 overall.

So in the postgame aftermath at Auburn, where Tennessee blew a 10-0 lead, its third wasted lead of 10-plus points this season, Pruitt was posed a question about what Pruitt could say to reassure those questioning the direction of the Volunteers football program.

“That ain’t my job, guys,” Pruitt said. “My job is to coach, OK? Alright? If you want to ask me a football question, ask me a football question.”

Despite rallying to an 8-5 finish a year ago including a comeback-win against Indiana in the Gator Bowl, Tennessee under Pruitt is a consistently inconsistent offensive creature with oft-maddening quarterback play.

The game at Auburn turned on Jarrett Guarantano’s 100-yard pick-six to Smoke Monday, the third Guarantano pick-six just this season.

“If I didn’t think (Guarantano was the best chance to win) so, I wouldn’t play him,” Pruitt said. “He didn’t miss two field goals. He didn’t blow a coverage.”

Pruitt also was asked about his offensive coordinator, Jim Chaney. Tennessee hasn’t scored more than 21 points since Oct. 3.

“Did you watch the game? We had more yards than they did,” said Pruitt, highlighting his team’s 464-385 advantage in total offense.

There’s perhaps a chance for the Vols to end their losing streak next week and avoid what would be only the second six-game losing streak in program history when Tennessee visits rival Vanderbilt in Nashville.

SHARE
John Brice has covered college football, mostly in the SEC as well as covering Notre Dame and Ohio State, for more than 20 years. He's a former Tennessee Vols football sideline reporter and believes life should be spent traveling or planning the next trip.