Tennessee Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Game Against Missouri

Jason Ellis@@JJasonEllisContributor IIINovember 11, 2012

Tennessee Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Game Against Missouri

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    The Tennessee Volunteers game against Missouri was considered by many to be a must-win game.  As it has gone this season, however, the Vols found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    This loss leaves Tennessee at a record of 4-6 and needing to win their last two games to be eligible for a bowl.  That will be tough considering the next game is against a vastly improved Vanderbilt team.

    The scenario continues to look very unlikely with reports on VolQuest.com that Derek Dooley's tenure at Tennessee is coming to an end.

    As for the task at hand, grading this game is similar to grading last week's game against Troy.  The offensive-skill position players will receive individual grades and the offensive line and defense will each be graded as a collective unit.

Quarterback: Tyler Bray

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    Stat Line: 37-of-54, 404 yards, 4 TD

    Grade: A

    Tyler Bray had another excellent game against Missouri.  He was on point with his passes for most of the game, with a little bogging down in the fourth quarter.  It wasn't enough to lower the overall grading, though.

Running Back: Marlin Lane

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    Stat Line: 8 carries for 47 yards, 7 receptions for 26 yards

    Grade: B

    This was an average game for Lane coming off an exceptional performance last week against Troy.  He did a good job with what he was given this week.

    His carries were lessened this week with Neal returning fully from his ankle injury.

Fullback: Ben Bartholomew

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    Stat Line: 1 reception for 5 yards

    Grade: B

    As a fullback, Bartholomew is limited in the amount of touches he is able to get.  He always makes the best of his opportunities and does a great job opening holes for Lane and Neal.

Wide Receiver: Justin Hunter

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    Stat Line: 9 receptions, 141 yards, 1 TD

    Grade: A

    Another great game for Justin Hunter.  He also improved on last week, limiting his drops.  This game is the reason that he's considered the No. 1 draft-eligible receiver.

Wide Receiver: Cordarrelle Patterson

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    Stat Line: 3 receptions for 53 yards, 5 carries for 28 yards and 1 TD, 1-of-1 for 28 yards passing, 3 kick returns for 80 yards

    Grade: A+

    There's only question that needs to be asked here: Is there anything that CP cannot do?  In every game this season he has been the most dynamic player on the field.  And yes, this is beginning to sound like a broken record, but...truth is truth.

    The Volunteers may want to look at cloning CP and putting him at all the positions where they are having issues.

Tight End: Mychal Rivera

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    Stat Line: 10 receptions, 129 yards and 1 TD

    Grade: A+

    Career day here for Rivera.  Before this game it almost seemed like he was a forgotten part of this offense.  He broke back out in a big way this week.

Offensive Line

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    Grade: C

    This was by far the offensive line's worst performance this season.  The Tigers defense was in Tyler Bray's face more often they should have been.  They also committed a plethora of penalties this week.

    If the Vols are to have any hope of making a bowl this season, then this line will need to perform up to the level that is expected of them.

The Defense

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    Grade: F

    The defense this week was a tale of two halves of football.  In the first half of this game, they allowed the Tigers across the 50-yard line once.  

    Then they played the second half.

    On the first play, from scrimmage, the defense, or lack there of, allowed Missouri running back Kendial Lawrence to break loose for a 77-yard touchdown.

    Once again, the defense is the reason that Tennessee lost this game.  They just seemed to be outmatched by the 112th-ranked offense in the nation.