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Tennessee Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Kentucky Game

Jason EllisContributor IIINovember 25, 2012

Tennessee Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Kentucky Game

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    A tumultuous 2012 campaign for the Tennessee Volunteers has come to a merciful end.  There have been some highs but those have been outweighed by a multitude of lows.

    But the Vols did end the season on a high note with a 37-17 victory over the hapless Kentucky Wildcats.

    Now the university turns to looking for a new head coach to try to bring Tennessee back into the national limelight.  

    Before looking at that, we'll take a look at the starters for this game and assign them grades for their performance.

    The grading will go much the same as in previous articles:  Skill position players will receive individual grades, offensive line will be graded as the unit and the defense will be graded the same.

Quarterback: Tyler Bray

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    Stat Line:  20 for 34, 293 yards, 4 TD

    Grade:  A-

    Tyler Bray did another excellent job in this game, but these are the performances he gives when there is no pressure to win the games.  

    He did have a few overthrows in the game, but those didn't do anything to alter the outcome of the game.

    The only question remaining for Bray is whether he will declare for the draft.

Fullback: Ben Bartholomew

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    Stat Line:  2 carries, 10 yards, 1 receptions, 13 yards

    Grade:  A

    Bartholomew had a pretty good game to end his career as a Volunteer.  He did an excellent job creating holes for the running backs.

    It was great to see him get the only two carries of his career to close out the victory.

Running Back: Marlin Lane

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    Stat Line:  10 carries, 75 yards, 1 reception, -4 yards

    Grade:  C

    Sub-par game this week for Marlin Lane, compared to what he has been doing the last several games.

    He just wasn't running with much authority in this game.  He does give a lot to look forward to next season, as long as he plays up to the flashes he has had this season.

Wide Receiver: Justin Hunter

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    Stat Line:  3 Receptions, 65 yards, 1 TD

    Grade:  A

    Justin Hunter was Justin Hunter in this game.  Very crisp in his route running this week.  He's ranked as the third wide receiver on Mel Kiper's big board for a reason.

Wide Receiver: Cordarrelle Patterson

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    Stat Line:  4 receptions, 88 yards, 1 TD; 2 carries, 38 yards; 2 kick returns, 32 yards

    Grade:  A

    Cordarrelle Patterson had another in a string of excellent games on the season.  When this guy gets the ball anything can happen.

    It's like watching a video game when he was on the field.

    His stats would have been better, but the Wildcats wouldn't kick the ball to him.

Tight End: Mychal Rivera

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    Stat Line:  5 receptions, 64 yards, 1 TD

    Grade:  A

    Rivera made the most of his last game on Rocky Top. 

    He should get a look at the NFL with the way he came on during the second half of the season.

Offensive Line

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    Grade:  B

    The most consistent part of the Tennessee offense this season has been it's offensive line.  They did a pretty good job in this game, it just wasn't up to their usual standards.

    They did allow a little pressure to get to Tyler Bray.  They also allowed a sack.

The Defense

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    Grade:  C

    The Tennessee defense showed up for a good portion of this week's game.  The secondary has been the main weakness all season long, and again in this game.

    The Vols gave up 245 passing yards to the Wildcats, 225 coming from freshman Jalen Whitlow.

    They also gave up a couple of big rushing plays, the biggest going for 45 yards and a score.

    With the right scheme and coaching, this could have been a different year for this defense.

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