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Report Card: No. 20 Missouri 29 Tennessee 21

Alex Ellis-1-3

 Receivers/Tight Ends

Daniel: Pig Howard (8 catches, 90 yards) has been a model of consistency over the past few weeks – a model some other receivers need to pay attention to. Outside of him, it’s hard to say what you’re going to get from the others, and the answer was not a lot on Saturday. Von Pearson made a couple nice plays and Jason Croom caught a late touchdown to bring the Vols a little bit closer, but playing without Marquez North, the receivers didn’t look great overall. The low point certainly was Josh Malone dropping what should’ve been an easy reception that turned into a deflection and interception for Missouri when the Vols were in Mizzou territory and trailing just 16-13 in the second half. He makes that catch and it could’ve been a completely different game. Instead, Missouri gets a quick-strike touchdown and began to pull away. The Vols aren’t good enough to make mistakes like that and win consistently against good teams. Grade: D+

Houston:  Pig Howard put in a solid performance, but had far too many drops in this game. In fact, this entire group had too many drops. Josh Malone’s drop of a slant in the fourth quarter fell into the arms of a Missouri defender and set up Missouri’s 73-yard touchdown pass three plays later. That’s a play that Malone has to make at this level. With Marquez North out, Tennessee was left without a true deep threat at receiver and Missouri adjusted accordingly. Receivers struggles to get open, struggled to break tackles after the catch and didn’t really impact the game in the way they would have needed to fir Tennessee to win. This group has a lot of talent, they just don’t have a lot of experience and are lacking leadership on the field right now. Jason Croom’s touchdown catch saves this group from an F. Grade D+

Reed: I’ll say it: The Vol receivers were mentally and physically soft against Missouri. They struggled to get open and were flat out manhandled at times. They had far too many drops – Malone’s reception turned interception completely changed the game. The Vols were battling and should have at least tied it on that drive. Three plays later they were down by 10 and had lost all momentum. If you’re looking for positivity, Pig Howard was a bright spot. He had his hands on several passes that he couldn’t haul in, but two of those (one a great play by a Missouri DB and the other a low throw) weren’t really on him. Alex Ellis made a nice catch on the fake field goal touchdown. Ellis and Howard save this group from an F. Grade: D

Average Grade: D+

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