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Position Grades: Tennessee 20, Mississippi State 10

Overall

Photo by Jake Nichols/RTI

Nathanael: A

This was Tennessee’s best defensive performance of the season, and aside from maybe the Kentucky game last year, it was probably the Vols’ best defensive game since sometime in 2015. Offensively, the Vols weren’t exactly flashy, but they did reel off more chunk plays than you might’ve realized (six pass plays of 15 or more yards, six running plays of 10 or more yards). The offense did enough to win, and aside from Maurer’s two end zone interceptions, they didn’t do anything to cost UT the game. Guarantano noticeably didn’t make any bizarre throws to put Tennessee in a bad spot, and the running backs had a solid game.

Saturday was Tennessee’s best team effort of the season, and it showed. It wasn’t a complete game, but it was as close to a complete game as UT has played in a very long time.

Ben: A+++++++

Tennessee desperately needed a win. If not, the Vols were going to start the season 1-6, and at the point, Pruitt probably loses the team and ultimately his job. This team is capable of going on a run and making a bowl game, but it’ll need more performances like Saturday. The win rejuvenates everyone within the program, including the fans. It was a step in the right direction and much-needed.

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