Day of the Living Dead

UT fans conditioned by years of false hopes — raised one season only to be smashed the next — may have felt the worst of this season was over, but the 27-6 defeat at South Carolina, that dropped the Vols to an unthinkable 3-6, turned out to be a false bottom and so the free fall to rock bottom continues following an embarrassing homecoming loss to 27-point underdog Wyoming of the Smythe Division.

The only question after Saturday's record-worst seventh loss is not whether it was UT's worst performance of the season of the worst home loss ever considering the quality of opponent. The Cowboys only scoring drive of the game covered four yards.

It ranks right down there with the infamous 21-14 home loss to North Texas State on Oct. 25, 1975. There's also the identical score, 13-7, setback against Rutgers on Nov. 3, 1979, and a 25-24 loss to Duke to open the 1982 campaign that deserve consideration.

Almost identical to losses against Florida, Auburn, Alabama and South Carolina in which the Vols played good defense but the offense only scored one touchdown. it did however give up an interception that was returned for a touchdown and another that put the Cowboys in business at the UT 4.

The Vols finally got into the end zone in the third quarter and had their chances to win it in the fourth but came up short time after time.

So instead of getting a win to boost team morale going into a long awaited bye week that could have launched a late winning streak to extend the season, the Vols know there will be no post season for the the second time in four seasons in will go down as the most losses in a single season in program history.

Throw in a shockingly sparse crowd that had a low enthusiasm level along with a lame duck coach and the loss to Wyoming can easily be qualify as the nadir of Tennessee football.

Or at least we hope.

In the name of full disclosure we offer the grades for Saturday's contest with brief comments.

LINEBACKERS (7.7) A good day for unit that rallied to the ball and kept good angles of pursuit. DEFENSIVE LINE (7.6) A big day for Demonte Bolden (7 stops) but the Vols failed to pressure the passer and had didn't maintain their run gaps.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (7.5) This is lower than the DBs usual score due to some sloppy tackling.

SPECIAL TEAMS (7.2) Dennis Rogan had a good kickoff return and Britton Colquitt provided good field position. His best took a big bounce at the 2 and downed at the 1.

RUNNING BACKS (6.5) Good day for Lennon Creer (87 yards) and Tauren Poole (44 yards) replacing an injured Arian Foster and Montario Hardesty.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6.3) Gerald Jones scored UT's only score but wideouts fail to come up with the tough catch and nobody compiled more than 37 yards.

OFFENSIVE LINE (6.2) Far from dominating against an undersized defense. Again allowed rushers and blitzers clear paths to the QBs.

QUARTERBACK (5.9) Jonathan Crompton gave Vols some life off the bench after Nick Stephens left them in a 13-0 hole.

OVERALL (68) Vols defense wasn't bad but the offense can't get worse.


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