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CFN Take: Tennessee Loses Late To Vandy
Tennessee Volunteers 2013 ...
Head Coach: Butch Jones
Vanderbilt 14, at Tennessee 10
| 2013 Record: 4-7|
8/31 Austin Peay W 45-0
9/7 WKU W 52-20
9/14 at Oregon L 59-14
9/21 at Florida L 31-17
9/28 South Alabama W 31-24
10/5 Georgia L 34-31 OT
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/19 South Carolina W 23-21
10/26 at Alabama L 45-10
11/2 at Missouri L 31-3
11/9 Auburn L 55-23
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/23 Vanderbilt L 14-10
11/30 at Kentucky
Basically … Helped by a key fourth down play, overturned by replay, to keep the drive alive, Patton Robinette ran for a five-yard score with 16 seconds to play to give the Commodores the lead, and the D held on as Tennessee’s last gasp bomb misfired. Jerron Seymour gave Vandy the first quarter lead on a four-yard run, but Tennessee took over with a five-yard Rajion Neal touchdown run in the second and grabbed the lead on a 32-yard Michael Palardy field goal in the third.
- Vanderbilt QB Austyn Carta-Samuels completed 21-of-27 passes for 181 yards and a core and Patton Robinette completed 3-of-4 passes for 14 yards and ran for a team-leading 41 yards and a score on ten carries.
- Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs completed 11-of-19 passes for 53 yards and two picks and ran 11 times for 23 yards.
- Tennessee turned it over three times and Vanderbilt four. The two teams combined for 12 penalties.
- Vanderbilt outgained Tennessee 285 yards to 237.
Auburn 55, at Tennessee 23
Basically … Auburn got on a roll in the second quarter with 21 straight points, and never looked back. Chris Davis returned a punt for a score, Corey Grant returned a kickoff for a score, Tre Mason ran for three touchdowns and Nick Marshall took off for two scores. Tennessee got up early 13-6 on a 17-yard Rajion Neal touchdown run, and Jacques Smith returned an interception for a score, but the Tigers owned the second half after closing out the first with Marshall’s 38-yard touchdown dash.
- Auburn threw the ball three times on the opening drive, and finished with seven passes total. The Tigers outgained the Vols 444 rushing yards – with Nick Marshall running for 214 yards and two scores - to 226.
- Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs completed 16-of-25 passes for 128 yards and a pick, and ran ten times for 49 yards.
- Auburn linebacker Cassanova McKinzy lead all tacklers with ten stops and 1.5 tackles for loss.
- Tennessee running back Rajion Neal ran 20 times for 124 yards and a score.
at Missouri 31, Tennessee 3
Basically … Missouri didn’t suffer any hangover from the South Carolina loss scoring the first 17 points of the game with Maty Mauk touchdown passes to Dorial Green-Beckham and L’Damian Washington along with a 24-yard Andrew Baggett field goal. Baggett missed a late field goal off the post, but a 40-yard Marcus Lucas touchdown catch and a 26-yard Russell Hansbrough helped the Tigers roll.
- Mizzou QB Maty Mauk completed 12-of-25 passes for 163 yards and three scores, and he led the team with 114 rushing yards on 13 carries.
- With Justin Worley out hurt with a thumb problem, Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs struggled completing 26-of-42 passes for 240 yards and two picks. He led the team with 45 rushing yards.
- Tennessee turned it over three times and committing nine picks. Missouri didn’t give the ball away and committed five penalties.
- Missouri converted 10-of-19 third down chances, Tennessee converted 2-of-13 tries and missed on both fourth down attempts.
at Alabama 45, Tennessee 10
Basically … Alabama took control from the start with Amari Cooper taking a short pass 54 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game, and T.J. Yeldon and Kevin Norwood added to the first quarter fun with scores. The first of Yeldon’s two one-yard touchdown runs added to the lead in the second quarter, and then the defense got into the act with an 89-yard interception return for a score from Landon Collins. Tennessee didn’t get into the end zone until early in the fourth on a three-yard Rajion Neal run.
- Tennessee never had a shot. The offense kept on pressing, but Justin Worley’s two picks were incredibly costly and the offense failed to come up with any decent plays early on when the game was still in doubt. A.J. Johnson did what he could with ten tackles, but the defensive line was beaten up by the Tide offensive front early.
- It’s a loss at Alabama; shake it off. Tennessee might have had a rough day, but there’s no time to get down with a road trip to Missouri up next. The key will be to get to the second half still alive. Alabama got up early and put it away before the Vols could establish much of anything. It’s going to take an upset to get to a bowl – and no hiccup against Kentucky - with Auburn and Vanderbilt to follow the date with the Tigers.
at Tennessee 23 … South Carolina 21
Basically … Michael Palardy hit three field goals including a 19-yarder as time ran out to give Tennessee a stunning win. Down 17-7 at halftime, South Carolina took control with tough defense and touchdown runs from Mike Davis and Connor Shaw in the third quarter, but gave up the two unanswered field goals in the fourth. Shaw gave USC a 7-3 lead on a 76-yard pass play to Damiere Byrd in the second quarter, but he ended up leaving the game with an apparent knee injury late.
- Tennessee has been really, really close to doing some nice things since the blowout loss to Oregon. How did it do it against the Gamecocks? Michael Palardy had a lot to do with it, beyond the three field goals. He averaged 40.4 yards per punt and put six inside the 20. The Vols controlled the game in the fourth quarter, held firm defensively late, and got timely offense when the chances were there. It might not have been the best-looking win, but the program will take it. It might have been a gamechanger.
- Connor Shaw takes a beating and keeps on trying. He only completed 7-of-21 passes for 161 yards and a score with a pick – with 76 yards on one play – but he took a beating on his 78 rushing yards and had to leave the game with what was first reported a sprained knee. Dylan Thompson is fine, but Shaw is a heart-and-soul type.
- After all the talk about Antonio Richardson vs. Jadeveon Clowney, how did Clowney do in the NFL matchup? 4.5 tackles, two quarterback hurries and 2.5 tackles for loss. He didn’t come up with a sak, but he was active.
- The Vols might really be just fine with Justin Worley at quarterback. He completed 19-of-34 passes for 179 yards and a score, but most importantly, he didn’t make any huge mistakes. Tennessee was able to stick around, and it came up with the drive it needed to close.
Georgia 34, Tennessee 31 OT
Basically … Georgia overcame a slew of key injuries and a Tennessee rally to score with five seconds to play on a two-yard Rantavious Wooten touchdown catch to help send the game into overtime. On Tennessee’s possession, Alton Howard fumbled the ball through the end zone reaching out for the goal line, giving the ball to Georgia on a touchback. The Bulldogs didn’t go anywhere, but Marshall Morgan nailed a 42-yard field goal to pull out the win. Morgan started off the scoring with a 56-yard bomb, and Georgia held a 10-0 lead on the first of three Aaron Murray touchdown passes. Tennessee fought back helped by a blocked punt for a score and two Rajion Neal touchdown runs, with his second coming from seven yards out with just under two minutes to play. Murray marched the Bulldogs 75 yards in ten plays for the game-tying score.
- He only completed 19-of-35 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns, but in many ways this might have been Aaron Murray’s finest moment. Todd Gurley didn’t play, RB Keith Marshall was knocked out of the game with a knee injury, and receivers Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett were injured, but Murray found a way to keep things moving and led the way to the win with a brilliant drive at the end of regulation. If he wins the Heisman, it’ll be because of this game.
- Butch Jones was absolutely brilliant. He had his Tennessee team playing fearlessly and effectively; the Vols haven’t looked this confident against a good opponent all season long. It was a horrendous break when Pig Howard’s fumble in overtime cost the team an almost-certain touchdown, but this was a great overall performance.
- Much will be made about the loss of several key Georgia offensive players, but losing safeties Tray Matthews and Connor Norman turned into a big deal as the game went on. Tennessee’s Justin Worley was able to find hit his throws against targets finding holes in the secondary. Watch out for Missouri and James Franklin next week.
- There’s the A.J. Johnson who deserves All-America consideration. He was all over the Georgia running backs making 12 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss, coming up with great stop after great stops.
at Tennessee 31, South Alabama 24
Basically … Tennessee held on for dear life as a furious South Alabama comeback attempt came up just short with Brian Randolph picking off a Ross Metheny pass in the end zone. Down 31-7, USA went wild with Metheny running for a five-yard run and Cris Dinham scoring from three yards out to pull the Jaguars within seven before the final ill-fated drive. Tennessee seemed to have control with Justin Worley throwing for two scores and Marlin Neal and Rajion Neal each scoring from short, but sputtering drives and a missed field goal allowed the Jaguars to get back in it.
- In Tennessee’s ongoing search for decent quarterback play, Justin Worley was hit-or-miss completing 20-of-36 passes for 204 yards with two scores and three interceptions. He spread the ball around well and came up with a few nice throws, but the offense went absolutely nowhere in the second half.
- Ross Metheny did everything he could to carry the USA offense, especially late. He ran for 67 yards and two scores and completed half of his throws for 234 yards with two picks. It wasn’t always pretty, but he was balling.
- Rajion Neal needs to be even more involved in the offense. He handled the workload, carrying the ball 25 times for 169 yards and a score, but unless Worley and the passing game can improve and be more consistent, Tennessee will be an easy team to gameplan for.
- The USA defense was night-and-day better in the second half and did a nice job of forcing third down plays that Worley couldn’t convert.
at Florida 31, Tennessee 17
Basically … Jeff Driskel threw a pick six to Devaun Swafford early in the first quarter for a 7-0 Tennessee lead, but worse yet, the Gator quarterback was lost for the year with a leg injury. The team rallied with 17 straight points, highlighted by a 52-yard pass play to Solomon Patton, and Matt Jones and Tyler Murphy were able to put the game away in the second half with short touchdown runs. The Tennessee offense didn’t get into the end zone until the fourth quarter on an 18-yard Alton Howard catch, but six turnovers proved to be too much to overcome.
- Uh oh. The Gators aren’t exactly deep at quarterback, and now Tyler Murphy has to show he can be the consistent, steady man. He completed 8-of-14 passes for 134 yards and a score, and he ran well with 84 yards and a touchdown, but the downfield passing game that was already a problem will probably be non-existent. Get ready for the focus to be on the Florida O line. Without Driskel, it’s going to be grind, grind, grind. Mack Brown and Matt Jones were effective, but they hardly dominated – now they’re going to have to dominate.
- Tennessee has enough issues without making a ton of mistakes. In the fight for the quarterback job, Nathan Peterman was a complete and utter disaster, completing 4-of-11 passes for five yards with two picks, and Justin Worley completed just 10-of-23 passes for 149 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Florida’s defense is too good for the quarterbacks to be this bad.
- Dante Fowler had a whale of a game for the terrific Gator D. He came up with just three tackles, but they were all behind the line with a sack and a forced fumble. Meanwhile, Vernon Hagreaves and the secondary didn’t allow much of anything.
- The Tennessee defense played good enough potentially win, but it was put in an awful position time and time again. Florida got physical, but considering the problems with the Oregon offense last week, the D, for the most part, did enough to hold its own.
at Oregon 59, Tennessee 14, Sept. 14
Basically … Marcus Mariota broke the game wide open with four touchdown passes and a nine-yard scoring run as Oregon scored 59 straight points after going down 7-0. De’Anthony Thomas, Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall added touchdown runs as a part of the explosion. Tennessee closed out the scoring with an eight-yard Alden Hill run.
- No quarterback in America is playing better than Marcus Mariota. He completed 23-of-33 passes for 456 yards and four scores, and he ran for 27 yards and a touchdown. He made every right decision and every correct play.
- Tennessee’s offense wasn’t bad, but it couldn’t keep up and had to press once the floodgates opened up. The long drives didn’t matter. They didn’t turn into points, and Oregon was too fast on its scoring drives.
- Too many plays were made in the Tennessee secondary. Ducks were having too easy a time getting to the second and third levels. The Vol defensive front was shoved around too easily, and there wasn’t enough pressure to bother Mariota.
- The scary part? Oregon hasn’t really unleashed De’Anthony Thomas yet. He led the team with 86 yards and a score on 13 carries, but it’s been Mariota’s show so far.
at Tennessee 52, WKU 20, Sept. 7
Basically … Western Kentucky turned the ball over seven times for the game and five times in the first six snaps to give Tennessee a nice cushion. The Hilltoppers scored first on a 37-yard Garrett Schwettman field goal, and then the floodgates opened with pick-sixes from Justin Coleman and Cameron Sutton as part of a 31-point run. Rajion Neal ran for three scores with two in the second half as the Vols pulled away after WKU fought back with two late first half touchdowns.
- WKU outgained, and in several ways, outplayed Tennessee at times, but turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. The Vols didn’t have to push the envelope too much, but they came out after halftime and took total control.
- The Tennessee offensive line blasted away for a good ground punch from Marlin Lane and Rajion Neal. Justin Worley didn’t have to force anything with the passing game, and while he threw a pick, he was fine within the situation.
- Antonio Andrews ran for 111 yards on just 13 carries for WKU, and Brandon Doughty threw for 222 yards, but his five interceptions and the offensive mistakes were way too much to overcome. Give the team credit, though, it fought back.
- Andrew Jackson might be the star defender for the Hilltoppers, but it was Xavier Boyd who was in on everything making 13 tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss. Jackson came up with six stops.
at Tennessee 45, Austin Peay 0
Basically … Tennessee was madly efficient with Justin Worley completing 11-of-13 passes for three touchdowns to three different receivers. Rajion Neal started off the scoring with a 47-yard touchdown run early in the first, and Marlin Lane followed it up with a 14-yard touchdown dash. Austin Peay came up with just 211 yards of total offense.
- The Vols ran for 315 yards and three scores with Neal rumbling for 141 yards on 16 carries, but he had lots and lots of room to run through. The offensive line controlled the game from the start.
- Worley didn’t have to push anything, but he was nearly perfect. The offense kept moving, converting third down play after third down play. He showed he’s definitely the starter. No question.
- The backups quickly got work, and it didn’t matter. The pressure into the backfield kept coming from the defense, and the offense kept moving. With no penalties and just one turnover, this was a nearly flawless game.
Why To Be Excited ... Butch Jones is different than Derek Dooley. He’s a bit more fiery, a bit more pumped up, and he should bring a bit more of an edge. Dooley was a 180-degree turn from the Lane Kiffin problems and he appeared to be the right guy to try doing everything the right way, but his teams were never able to put it all together on both sides of the ball. Jones has a ton of work to do to get the offense in sync, but the defense that finished dead last in the SEC in yards and points allowed welcomes back seven starters including two on the line and three of the top four linebackers. A.J. Johnson is one of the SEC’s best young defenders and a key piece to work around, and the secondary that gets back three starters should be stronger if there’s more of a pass rush up front. The offense might have concerns, but the building blocks are there with four starters returning on the line, including three seniors, from a group that allowed just eight sacks on the year.
Why To Be Grouchy ... It could be argued that the team became way too reliant on the passing game, but it was the only thing that worked. Tyler Bray didn’t set the world on fire, but he was an NFL caliber quarterback working with pro receivers in Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter. They’re all gone, and the running game might not be quite strong enough to pick up the slack if no one respects the new parts to the passing attack. There’s the offseason and two games against Austin Peay and Western Kentucky to get everything in place, but it gets really ugly really fast with trips to Oregon and Florida and dates against Georgia, South Carolina and at Alabama after hosting South Alabama. It could be an ugly start.
What Needs Working On ... You can’t win in the SEC if you can’t play defense. Tennessee couldn’t stop Missouri, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, or anyone with some semblance of a pulse, making the Opening Day 35-21 win over NC State more shocking as the year went along. The Wolfpack, Georgia State, Akron and Kentucky were the only teams not to hit the 30 point mark on the Vols, and Florida (37) and South Carolina (38) were the only other teams to not get to 40. There wasn’t much of a pass rush from the outside, and while there were plenty of plays made overall in the backfield, there weren’t enough to give the beleaguered secondary a break. Everyone got fat on the UT pass defense, with Georgia State the only offense to not throw for over 200 yards, meaning Jones has to spend a good bulk of his time working on how to keep all the nasty teams on the first half of the slate from bombing away at will.
/>Non-Conference Games: Austin Peay, WKU, at Oregon, South Alabama
Games Against The West: at Alabama, Auburn
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 6-6
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Austin Peay, WKU, South Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt, at Kentucky
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Oregon, at Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, at Alabama, at Missouri
Schedule Analysis: The Vols need to enjoy the first few weeks of the season, because it gets really bad, really fast. They need Austin Peay and Western Kentucky to kick things off and South Alabama to close out September, otherwise the first half of the Butch Jones era would likely take off with a crashing thud.
Try this out for a run of brutality. After hosting WKU, Tennessee goes on the road to play Oregon one week and then goes the 2,928 miles to kick off the SEC season at Florida. After the layup against South Alabama, Georgia comes to town before getting week off to rest up for South Carolina and road trips to Alabama and Missouri. November isn’t too bad with home games against Auburn and Vanderbilt wrapped around a week off. The regular season finale is a must win at Kentucky.
Team Concerns For 2013: It's going to take Butch Jones a few years to get everything going, but there are plenty of decent talents to develop. For this year, Goal One is to improve the SEC's worst defense after allowing a whopping 471 yards and 36 points per game. The biggest problem was a secondary that gave up way too many deep plays, but the pass rush didn't help the cause. With quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter leaving early for the NFL, the nation's 15th-ranked passing game needs plenty of
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Receivers. It's always asking for too much for true freshman to produce right away, but there are plenty of openings with tough losses at receiver. The opportunities will be there for at least one of the newcomers to see time right away. Marquez North is the best of the bunch with 6-3 size and 4.5 speed, but Paul Harris and Ryan Jenkins are nice options. Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and end Jason Carr are SEC talents, but with the coaching change and little time for Butch Jones to work, overall this isn't going to be the type of gamechanging class the program needs.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
40. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive front seven. The Volunteers were fine defensively, but not great. The offense needs a boost as soon as possible, but for the long haul the defense needs to beef things up on the line. There are good prospects waiting in the wings, but reinforcements are a must with a few stud defensive tackles a plus. The secondary is fine for the next few years, but players are needed to develop for 2014.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 10. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Derek Dooley did a tremendous job with a class that might bring Tennessee back to the level that everyone has been waiting for. JUCO transfer safety Byron Moore will be used right away, JUCO transfer defensive tackle Maurice Couch will step inside instantly, and linebacker A.J. Johnson is a stud, but the key to the class is the bulking up on the offensive line with two Signing Day pickups in Cameron Clear and Antonio Richardson. Clear needs a while to bulk up, but the athleticism is there to be special. 6-5, 290-pound Kyler Kerbyson is ready soon, and guards Marcus Jackson and Alan Posey are promising.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 11. That Class Was
Heavy On ... The passing game.
The defense was hardly ignored in Derek Dooley's
first class with three excellent linemen in JUCO
transfer DT John Brown and ends Jacques Smith, and
Corey Miller all good enough to see time right away.
JUCO transfer Dave Clark needs to play a big role
this year at one corner, while JaWaun James might be
the SEC's best recruit for the O line. Before
leaving, Lane Kiffin made a big deal out of securing
the quarterbacks, and Dooley kept them around with
Tyler Bray, a very big, very talented passer to go
along with Nash Nance and JUCO transfer Matt Simms.
Simms will be expected to compete for the starting
job this offseason. Four terrific receivers were
signed with Da'Rick Rogers, Justin Hunter, and Matt
Milton all with next level skills.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 20. That Class Was
Heavy On ... defensive backs. The defensive line got a big boost with Jonathan Hollins and Rae Sykes likely to provide immediate help on the end, and the linebackers are strong with Jerod Askew with all the skills to be special. The secondary got the most help with six defensive backs, and they’re all fantastic. Safety Darren Myles might be the best prospect of the group, while Nyshier Oliver and corners Janzen Jackson, Mike Edwards, Eric Gordon and Marsalis Teague all have the potential to be stars.