Jeremy Pruitt has only been the head coach of the Tennessee Vols for two seasons, but he already has some memorable wins on Rocky Top.
From upsets to must-win games, Pruitt has already experienced the full gauntlet of the SEC.
Over his first two years at UT, Pruitt has won 13 games and lost 12.
More wins are inevitably on the way, but here’s how I think the first 13 wins of Pruitt’s career rank.
13. Tennessee 24 UTEP 0 (September 15, 2018)
There wasn’t really anything spectacular about this game. It was the third game of the Pruitt era and it was a matchup the Vols were expected to win. Tennessee won easily, but this was far from a blowout.
12. Tennessee 14 Charlotte 3 (November 3, 2018)
This game was similar to the UTEP game, except a bit closer. At this point in the 2018 season, Tennessee was 3-5. The Vols needed to win at least two of their final four games to finish with a better record than they finished with in 2017. They managed to get by Charlotte, though it wasn’t pretty.
11. Tennessee 30 UAB 7 (November 2, 2019)
I never thought Tennessee was going to lose this matchup, but it certainly had the feeling of a “trap game”. It was sandwiched right in between games between South Carolina and Kentucky. And UAB isn’t exactly a pushover. The Vols were ready, though. While it wasn’t a dominating blowout, it was still a convincing win.
10. Tennessee 59 ETSU 3 (September 8, 2018)
There’s nothing like a head coach’s first career win. After an ugly start to the Pruitt era (against West Virginia), the Vols got an easy win against ETSU. This was a nice win to boost the confidence of the players, too. Once the first one was out of the way, the players knew plenty more wins under Pruitt would be on the way.
9. Tennessee 45 Chattanooga 0 (September 14, 2019)
This is a game that most won’t remember, but it was a pivotal game in the Pruitt era. After an 0-2 start to the 2019 season, a loss to Chattanooga might have been the nail in the coffin for Pruitt. Fortunately, the team came out and did exactly what they were supposed to do against a team like Chattanooga — they dominated.
8. Tennessee 24 Missouri 20 (November 23, 2019)
Tennessee’s win against Missouri in 2019 was their first win against the Tigers since 2016. But that wasn’t the only reason this win was important. Beating Missouri this past November ensured that UT wouldn’t finish with a losing record in the SEC for the first time since 2016.
7. Tennessee 41 South Carolina 21 (October 26, 2019)
This is the game where I felt like the Vols were going to be ok under Jeremy Pruitt.
South Carolina is a team that Tennessee should beat 8 out of 10 times. And for the first few years of the Butch Jones era, it looked like things were trending that way. Then the inexplicable loss in 2016 happened, which led to a three-year losing streak against the Gamecocks. Getting the win against South Carolina this past season was a nice early resume builder for Pruitt.
6. Tennessee 28 Vanderbilt 10 (November 30, 2019)
A three-year losing streak to Vanderbilt is something that should never ever happen at Tennessee. If there was a must-win game on the Vols’ schedule in 2019, it was this matchup against the Commodores. Not only did this win end the embarrassing losing streak to Vandy, but it also ensured that Tennessee would finish the season with a winning record.