Tennessee overcame a sloppy performance on Saturday to defeat the Ohio Bobcats by a score of 28-19. While the offense once again again failed to play a complete game with any kind of real rhythm, the defense even though it was decimated by injuries carried the load.
InsideTennessee takes a look at the individuals or position groups that saw their stock rise or fall after moving to 3-0 on the young 2016 season.
Josh Malone: Catching at least one touchdown for the third straight game of the season Malone continues to make a statement that he is ready to be an elite wide receiver in the SEC. Malone had five catches for 69 yards and two scores but it could have been much more. Malone was running free in the secondary at least two other times for potential scores had the ball been delivered accurately.
Jason Croom: Playing in just his second game in over a year, Croom caught three passes for 54 yards and saw his reps increase and appears to be pushing Ethan Wolf for more opportunities.
Derek Barnett: While still searching for his first sack of the year, make no mistake Barnett made his presence known all night in the backfield.He did record one tackle for loss and had numerous quarter back hurries.
Todd Kelly Jr: Kelly had a nice bounce back game after being listed last week on the wrong side of this report. Kelly had 7 total stops and played his best football in the red zone where Ohio was forced to kick four field goals.
Colton Jumper: When Jalen Reeves-Maybin went out with injury, Tennessee fans everywhere started to rethink their displeasure with Jumper being named the starter this past week. With all the injuries within the linebacking corps, Jumper has become a valuable piece in Bob Shoop's defense. Jumper totaled 7 tackles with one being a tackle for loss.
Jalen Hurd: Not even close to his best overall game, but Hurd makes this report for one play and one play only. Clinging to a 2-point lead and facing third down and one on the first play of the fourth quarter, he made the play of the game with a 27-yard gainer ALL on his own. Without this individual effort the outcome of this game could have been very different as the Vols went on to score a touchdown right after the third down conversion that appeared to be stopped.
Baylen Buchanan: Playing his first extensive time in a Volunteer uniform, Buchanan held his own against a quality Ohio offense. With Cam Sutton out what appears to be an extended period of time, this youngster is going to get plenty of opportunities to make his mark on Team120.
Malik Foreman: Suspended for a violation of team rules isn't at all what coaches want to see from a young man that has been campus this long while playing such a big role on this defense. Very disappointing reason to see a player miss game time when so many others have missed with significant injuries.
The Entire O-line: This group has had a really rough start to the 2016 season. Perhaps it's not fair to lump them all into one group but it is time this group plays up to it's potential and experience and it better happen quickly. That Gator front seven is mean,nasty, and ready to embarrass this group again if something doesn't change.
Joshua Dobbs: The stats suggest Dobbs played well in the passing game. After all his interception was a deflection and wasn't his fault. However, after looking closely he left at least four big plays on the field with very poor passes that missed their mark. Dobbs can't keep letting opportunities for big plays go unconverted especially with much better competition on the horizon.
Preston Williams: Three games into this season and Williams only has 70 total reception yards with a long of 16. These are staggering low numbers for a wide receiver that was supposed to be a big play threat. Williams allowed a Dobbs pass to bounce off of his face mask and found the arms of an Ohio defender for an interception. He also had one of the four Tennesssee fumbles on the day
Ethan Wolf: Wolf has just five grabs in the first three games and has seen his playing time diminish since Jason Croom has returned from injury. Against Ohio Wolf only had one reception for seven yards and also dropped an easy touchdown. Wolf has been unable to become the threat many thought he would be in the middle of the field for the start of this season.