September 9, 2018 / 1:27 AM / in 2 months

Pruitt earns first victory as Tennessee pummels East Tennessee State

Tennessee scored touchdowns in all three phases and handed Jeremy Pruitt his first victory as a head coach with a 59-3 rout of visiting East Tennessee State on Saturday in Neyland Stadium.

Jeremy Banks and Madre London ran for two touchdowns each, Josh Palmer ran for one, Jordan Murphy caught a touchdown pass, Marquill Osborne blocked a punt and returned the ball for a touchdown, and Darrin Kirkland Jr. returned an interception for another score.

The Volunteers outgained the Buccaneers, 414-194, and took the ball away three times without committing a turnover.

The easy victory in which the Volunteers (1-1) took a 10-0 lead after one quarter and a 38-0 lead at halftime was a welcome relief after a difficult first week of the season for Tennessee under Pruitt, a former Alabama defensive coordinator.

The Volunteers lost their opener to then-No. 17 Virginia Tech, in 40-14, in Pruitt’s debut Sept. 1 in Charlotte even though they trailed just 13-7 at halftime. Then starting center Brandon Kennedy suffered a torn ACL in practice Tuesday, ending his season.

The Buccaneers (1-1), a member of the FCS Southern Conference, are playing their fourth season since reinstating their program after a 12-year hiatus.

The game was delayed due to lightning for 48 minutes with Tennessee leading by 10 early in the second quarter.

After Brent Cimaglia started the scoring with a 26-yard field goal, Osborne scored on an eight-yard return. Banks then scored back-to-back touchdowns on runs of one and three yards, Kirkland scored from 33 yards, and Palmer ran 20 yards for the final score of the first half.

London started the second-half scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.

After the Buccaneers finally scored on J.J. Jerman’s 39-yard field goal, Keller Chryst threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Murphy to make it 52-3 early in the fourth quarter. London scored again from four yards to complete the scoring.

—Field Level Media

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