Gameday recap: Tennessee 22, Auburn 26
Tennessee Stat Book
AP Top 25 College Football
Jonathan Crompton showed improvement, but the Vols still have issues under center. Auburn missed out on what should have been a Crompton interception in the first quarter. Crompton also fumbled. Nu'Keese Richardson showed off his explosiveness on the game's first play, his only opportunity at quarterback.
Running Backs B
Montario Hardesty continues to be the offense's MVP. He had 90 rushing yards on 21 carries and a touchdown against a defense often stacked against the run. Hardesty also had 56 receiving yards on three catches while playing in pain. Bryce Brown didn't do much. He only had three carries for 14 yards.
Plenty of mistakes here. Gerald Jones missed a block and dropped a pass on the first drive, then failed to pick up a first down in the third quarter. Quintin Hancock dropped passes. Another hit him in the head on the next play. Denarius Moore also had a drop. Brandon Warren tried to pick up a fumble instead of diving on it and lost his composure on the sideline.
Offensive Line B
Protection was solid with no sacks. The Vols ran the ball for 5.2 yards per carry. A respectable showing for a banged up, rebuilt front five.
Defensive line C+
The group never generated much pressure on the quarterback and was repeatedly gashed up the middle by Auburn's spread rushing attack. Injury concerns for Wes Brown and Chris Walker were clearly a factor, and they helped make the unit collectively a non-factor.
The Vols could have used the injured Nick Reveiz to handle the calls and sniff out some of Auburn's tricks, but for the most part they moved along well without their middle linebacker. Savion Frazier and Rico McCoy were frequently around the football and delivering some hits, but like the front, they weren't able to get to the quarterback, either.
Eric Berry had another productive tackling day, but he seemed to miss a pair of good chances for interceptions - including one where he misjudged a ball in front of him that went for an Auburn reception. Dennis Rogan's return made an obvious difference against a far better offense than Ohio's.
Special Teams D
The Vols got perhaps their best effort of the season from the returners. But it wasn't nearly enough to offset a dreadful night in the kicking game. Daniel Lincoln shanked a 39-yard field-goal attempt on the first drive and had an extra point blocked. Chad Cunningham sent a punt off the side of his foot as well. Kickoff coverage was shaky.
Vols were too pass happy early but finally got Crompton is some sort of rhythm - relatively speaking. UT's defense didn't have the answers late when it had to stop Auburn.
Perhaps a hurry-up offense will help Crompton. Perhaps UT's offense will come around. Perhaps the Vols can win a game in October. Perhaps not.
- News Sentinel staff