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Ranking Tennessee’s 2014 Performances

Lane Kiffin-16. Tennessee gains some confidence in loss to Alabama

It may seem odd to have a 14-point home loss to Tennessee’s biggest rival so high on the list. And if you just look at the first quarter and a half or so, it was a low point as Lane Kiffin, playing the role of the villain, came back to Neyland Stadium and shredded the Vols with play after play designed for Amari Cooper, who went off on UT yet again. But despite that storyline and the loss, in many ways Tennessee’s season turned around in this game. After the horrific start, Tennessee actually outscored the Tide over the final three quarters behind new quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who came on in relief of starter Nathan Peterman, who was replacing the injured Justin Worley. The offense had a new look and a new confidence under Dobbs. The more mobile QB helped out the struggling offensive line and opened up space for some of the other playmakers as well. Tennessee actually pulled within 10 points late in the third quarter before a long Alabama TD drive put it out of reach. So while a loss to Alabama is never truly accepted in Knoxville, this game, in many ways, boosted the Vols to their 4-1 finish down the stretch.

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