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Position Grades: No. 17 West Virginia 40, Tennessee 14


Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

Nathanael: F

Tennessee’s lack of a pass rush did the Vols’ secondary no favors, but some of UT’s defensive backs made mistakes bad enough on their own to give up some big plays. The Vols gave up a career-high 429 yards passing and allowed five passing touchdowns on the day. Even if Tennessee played three true freshmen in the secondary for a lot of snaps, that’s not excusable. More veteran players like Micah Abernathy and Baylen Buchanan made just as many if not more mistakes than the freshmen.

Ben: F

Any time you allow the opposing quarterback to throw for 429 yards and five touchdowns on 25-of-34 passing, (all career-highs), you’ve failed as a group. Tennessee’s secondary is very inexperienced as the Vols replace Justin Martin, Rashaan Gaulden and Emmanuel Moseley. Saturday was a “welcome to college football” moment for the group. Alontae Taylor had a solid debut, but Bryce Thompson and Trevon Flowers struggled while veterans Baylen Buchanan and Micah Abernathy seemed to be a step too late on most plays. Nigel Warrior did record eight tackles.

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