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Report Card: No. 20 Missouri 29 Tennessee 21

Derek Barnett-1

 Defensive Line

Daniel: The defensive line got after Mauk several times, forcing some bad throws and recording three sacks – one by Curt Maggitt, Owen Williams and Danny O’Brien. But they also let Mauk get out of the pocket a few times and beat them with his feet and extend plays. That was a point of emphasis this week and the Vols didn’t do a great job in that area on a consistent basis. Derek Barnett played another solid game (8 tackles, .5 TFL, 2 QBH), but hit Mauk late a couple times and got flagged for it after a third-down stop that extended a drive for Missouri that ended in a field goal. This group didn’t consistently stop the run either, allowing the Tigers to find enough space to stay in front of the chains most of the evening. Grade: C-

Houston:  Much like the offense as a whole, the defensive line was very inconsistent in this game. They were able to force Mauk from the pocket at times, but too frequently allowed him ample time to find open receivers down the field. Missouri found success running the ball between the tackles at various stages of the game and – much like the linebackers – defensive linemen missed some tackles at important times that allowed Missouri to extend plays and extend drives. Not their worst night, but they didn’t impact the game like many expected them to. Grade: C-

Reed: The Vol defensive linemen, as my colleagues pointed out, made a few big plays, but they just weren’t consistent. Mauk, more often than not, had all day to throw. He also had a few big runs when he escaped the pocket. Missouri had plenty of room to run on third down evening thanks to a Vol defensive front which couldn’t hold the middle of the field with regularity. Grade: D+

Average Grade: C-

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