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Report Card: Tennessee 50 Kentucky 16

Justin Coleman-1


Daniel: The ball-hawking secondary that was in place for much of the earlier season returned on Saturday after two rough weeks. Level of competition certainly played into it. There was no Amari Cooper-type on Kentucky’s roster. But a passing attack that averaged 243 yards per game coming into the contest had only 168 on the night despite playing from behind most of the night. Brian Randolph’s pick-6, forced by pressure from Justin Coleman, gave the Vols a firm grip on the game early. Coleman had another nice interception and return later as well. Emmanuel Moseley, who had some nice deflections, played probably the best game of his career. Randolph’s ejection and likely subsequent first-half suspension, while questionable, wasn’t a very smart play by him and could cost the Vols next week. Outside of that and just a couple instances of poor coverage, it was a very good night for the DBs. Grade: A-

Houston: Kentucky is a better-than-average passing team and Tennessee did a very nice job of holding them in check for most of the night. Javess Blue was able to get behind Tennessee on a couple of long throws down the field, but that is exactly what the Vols were giving the Wildcats. Tennessee committed an extra safety to the run game and went mostly man-to-man on the outside. The fact that they were able to do that and still hold the Wildcats under 170 passing yards shows just how well this group played. They turned in two interceptions and got the first defensive score of the season when Brian Randolph intercepted an errant pass and returned it 23 yards for the score. Given the style of coverages that were called, I thought the secondary had a very strong night.  Grade: A-

Reed: After struggling mightily for two straight weeks, the Vol secondary regained some of its form against a decent Kentucky offense. Towles exiting the game for a few drives certainly helped, but with the exception of a couple long Javess Blue receptions, this group was very solid. Randolph’s pick-6 started the rout. Coleman added another interception and there weren’t near as many coverage busts this week as we saw against Alabama and South Carolina. The Vols are still getting beat in man coverage down the boundary at times, if not for that this grade would be higher. Missouri has some weapons at receiver and will really test the Vol defensive backs next week. Grade: B+

Average Grade: A-

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