Saturday night left many Tennessee fans disappointed after the Volunteers struggled to a 47-26 victory over the Akron Zips.
While the final margin had Tennessee ahead by three scores, the game was much closer for the majority of the contest. Akron actually cut the Tennessee lead to four early in the fourth quarter before the Vols pulled away.
Coming off an emotional loss to Florida and facing a brutal four-game stretch upcoming, this game had trap written all over it. However, Akron was able to expose many of the same problems that Tennessee's previous opponents had.
Some players had great statistical nights, while others struggled.
Here's grades for all 22 starters...
Bray had big numbers against the Zips, going 27-for-43 for 401 yards and four touchdowns. However, he did throw an interception, dropping the grade just a tad.
Tennessee's offense seemed to move at will, though, and the only thing that stopped it was itself.
Neal ran for a career-high 161 yards on 22 carries. He continually gashed the Akron defense to the tune of 7.3 yards per carry.
He also caught three passes, one of which went for a touchdown.
The only thing stopping Neal from an A grade is a fumble that led to points for Akron in the first quarter.
Bartholomew did everything the Vols could ask for from the fullback.
He helped pave the way for the running game, which amassed 242 yards. On top of that, he caught two passes for 21 yards. Not much more that Derek Dooley could want.
Hunter continues to be the stellar receiver everyone expected him to be. The junior had 115 yards on eight catches, including a touchdown.
He is still the go-to receiver in crunch time, and Bray has full confidence in him. No other receiver made more than three catches.
Patterson was quiet for most of Saturday night. He made just two receptions for 20 yards on the evening in addition to a 17-yard rush.
Other than that, Justin Hunter's running mate didn't make much noise.
It wasn't a huge night from the tight end, but he did catch two passes for 43 yards. Rivera is a great target over the middle of the field, but wasn't called upon very often Saturday.
The offensive line as a whole deserves a decent grade. Tyler Bray wasn’t sacked at any point during the night and had plenty of time to stand in the pocket and deliver downfield.
Also, the ground game picked up 242 yards, which is hard to complain about.
The only gripes from this group come in short-yardage situations. There were multiple occasions in which the Vols couldn’t pick up first downs on third or fourth and short.
Richardson gets a strong grade for managing to avoid a false-start penalty.
The Vols ran the ball consistently for most of the night. However, you still worry about the short-yardage problems. Failure to consistently convert in those situations could cost the Vols a meaningful game down the line.
Stone may have made the most improvements of any player from last season to this. His effort to make his snaps consistent has paid off. So far, so good for the center.
Fulton continues to play well on the right side of the line. He helped the Vols keep Tyler Bray upright most of the night. Akron failed to sack the Vols quarterback.
Fulton's grade drops a little because of a false start penalty.
James is the anchor of this line on the right side, and he continues to play strong. It's time though for this group to make a step forward with the upcoming stretch on the schedule.
The line must continue to open holes and allow the run game to gain some consistency if the Vols want any chance over the next four games.
Sentimore recorded the only sack the Vols picked up on Saturday. Akron's short routes didn't allow Tennessee to get much pressure on the quarterback.
The lineman also had three other tackles on the night.
It's hard to put a grade on the massive nose tackle because he didn't see the field very much against the Zips.
Tennessee hasn't used McCullers much against teams that run spread offenses, and that is the definition of Akron.
The Vols defense allowed almost five yards per carry and struggled to get pressure on passing downs. Therefore, it's hard to give high marks to the defense.
The Tennessee defense still gave up big plays, and Smith was only in on one tackle, of which he picked up an assist. Not enough playmaking from the linebackers.
Johnson continues to clean up on the defensive side of the ball for the Vols. The sophomore led the team in tackles with 11, including five solo.
Add in the two carries out of the wildcat, including a touchdown, and his grade gets even better.
Maggitt got into the backfield and hurried quarterback Dalton Williams on one occasion. The linebacker picked up a solo tackle as well.
Lathers didn't have much of an impact at all on Saturday night. The senior has been banged up, and games like this allow the Vols to get him off the field and rest.
They need him as close to 100 percent for the upcoming stretch.
Coleman picked up the start over Marsalis Teague in the Vols secondary. He picked up a tackle in the backfield for a 10-yard loss and also broke up a pass.
However, he also was called for pass interference.
Waggner had eight tackles on the evening and a pass breakup. The Vols are still waiting for him to make his presence felt in the turnover department.
Brewer was forced into a starting role with Brian Randolph down for the season with an ACL tear. Brewer picked up four tackles on the night.
The Vols need him to step up to make up for Randolph's loss.
This was the best performance for Moore so far in a Tennessee uniform.
The safety recorded two interceptions and came very close to picking up a third late in the game. In addition to the turnovers, Moore finished second on the team with 10 stops.
This is exactly the step forward the Vols need with Randolph out.