The Tennessee Vols’ bowl game hopes are alive and well after a convincing 41-21 win over South Carolina on Saturday night.

It looked like it was going to be a long night for the Vols after the Gamecocks connected for a 75 yard touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage.

But Tennessee responded by allowing only seven yards the rest of the first quarter.

In a game that was essentially a “bullpen game” for the Vols (Jauan Jennings, Jarrett Guarantano and JT Shrout all took snaps at quarterback), Tennessee dominated in every facet of the game.

This didn’t look like the team that lost to Georgia State and BYU. This looked like the team that fans envisioned when Jeremy Pruitt hired Jim Chaney to be the Vols’ offensive coordinator. Tennessee took shots down field and connected on several deep balls to Jennings and Marquez Callaway.

The win, which was UT’s first ever against Will Muschamp, pushed Tennessee’s record to 3-5 on the year. With four games remaining, the Volunteers only need to win three of them to reach a bowl. They have games remaining against UAB, Missouri, Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

If Tennessee plays the rest of the season the way they did on Saturday night, they have a legitimate chance to win seven games this season.

This is still a young Volunteer team, so it’s entirely possible they hit a wall in November. But for now, it’s hard to envision Tennessee, a team that has vastly improved as the season has progressed, not playing in a bowl game for the first time since 2016.

I guess Pruitt knows what he’s doing after all.

Featured image via USA Today

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