Tennessee Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 11 Game vs. Missouri

Stephen Williams@SteveO_WilliamsContributor IIINovember 12, 2012

Tennessee Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 11 Game vs. Missouri

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    Things went from bad to worse for the Tennessee Volunteers Saturday as they dropped their seventh consecutive SEC game 51-48 to Missouri in four overtimes.

    Tennessee dominated the opening half of the game, but only led by two scores at halftime. Missouri slowly worked its way back into the game, and the Tennessee defense faltered down the stretch and allowed the Tigers to score with ease.

    Rumors continue to swirl about Derek Dooley's job status, but he is still the coach as of the time of this writing. How much longer that lasts, though, is up in the air.

    With the Vols now at 0-6 in SEC play, let's look at the winners and losers from Saturday's loss.

Winner: Tyler Bray

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    For the third straight game, Tyler Bray absolutely lit up the opposing defense. Saturday, the Tennessee quarterback passed for 404 yards and four touchdowns.

    Bray has now totaled 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns over the last three games.

    The junior is leading one of the most potent offenses in all of the country. It's a shame that the defense is wasting it.

Winner: Cordarrelle Patterson

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    Week after week, Cordarrelle Patterson proves to be one of the best athletes in the country. Saturday offered more proof.

    The junior receiver caught three passes for 53 yards, rushed five times for 28 yards and a touchdown, threw a pass for 28 yards and juked a Missouri defender out of his shoes on his way to a touchdown that was taken off the board on a ridiculous unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

    Tennessee hasn't had an athlete this explosive in a long time. Unfortunately for Vols fans, they will likely only get to watch him for one season.

Loser: Derek Dooley

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    Obviously, Derek Dooley is a loser because Tennessee lost the game. But Dooley is also a loser because of his late-game management.

    With Tennessee tied and less than a minute to go, Dooley chose to sit on his timeouts and let the clock run out. With an offense as explosive as Tennessee's, there is always a chance to get points. The boos rained down on Dooley when the clocked rolled down, and he should be ashamed of how he handled it.

Winner: Mychal Rivera

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    Tight end Mychal Rivera kept asking the Tennessee coaches for more opportunities in the passing game. Saturday, he got them—and he delivered in a big way.

    Rivera set a career high for catches in the first half alone. He finished the game with 10 receptions for 129 yards and a terrific touchdown catch on an unbelievable throw by Bray.

    Rivera often gets overlooked as a weapon in Tennessee's passing game because of the talent of the weapons on the outside, but he is a great target for Bray and proved that Saturday.

Loser: Tennessee Defense

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    With the 51 points allowed to Missouri Saturday, Tennessee has become the first SEC team in history to allow at least 38 points in six consecutive games.

    The Vols have now allowed 51, 41, 44, 38, 48 and 51 points during that stretch. That is historically bad.

    Not even Vanderbilt or Kentucky ever had a stretch like that. The atrocity of the Tennessee defense is reaching new heights every week.

Winner: Justin Hunter

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    As it has been most weeks, all of the winners are on the offensive side of the ball for the Vols. Hunter put together another very strong game on Saturday with nine catches for 141 yards and a touchdown.

    Hunter had a stretch of four games in which he didn't go over the century mark. However, the junior now has 322 yards receiving and four touchdowns in the last two games.

    It's no coincidence that Tyler Bray has gotten better as Hunter has stepped his play up.