Scouting Report: Tennessee

Vanderbilt returns home to take on a Tennessee Volunteers team that is hurting after a 51-48 loss in the fourth overtime against Missouri. The Vols are just one loss away from a third consecutive season with a losing record, and the second straight season without a bowl. The Vol scoring defense ranks dead last in the conference and 111th in the country, allowing 37 points per game.

Vanderbilt returns home to take on a Tennessee Volunteers team that is hurting after a 51-48 loss in the fourth overtime against Missouri. The Vols are just one loss away from a third consecutive season with a losing record, and the second straight season without a bowl. The Vol scoring defense ranks dead last in the conference and 111th in the country, allowing 37 points per game. Tennessee's defense played superb in the first half and held Missouri without an offensive point. Missouri receiver Jimmie Hunt returned a kickoff 87 yards for a score for the Tigers in the first quarter. Mizzou running back Kendial Lawrence got things going on the first play of the second half with a 77-yard rush for a score.

Both the Tigers and the Vols looked completely different in the second half. The Vols were able to score a touchdown off a short field from a Missouri turnover. Missouri quarterback James Franklin hit Bud Sasser for a 40-yard pass to quickly put the Tigers in the red zone and Mizzou took little time to cut the lead back to seven.

With just under five minutes remaining, Mizzou put together an 11-play, 76-yard drive, resulting in a 25-yard touchdown pass to true freshman Dorial Green-Beckham to tie the score at 28.

The Vols got the first possession of the fourth overtime and were shut down on fourth-and-3 when Tyler Bray's pass fell incomplete. Lawrence started the Tigers off with a 7-yard rush that set Andrew Baggett up for a game winning 35-yard field goal.

Mizzou came out of Tennessee with a victory and left Tennessee 0-6, without a conference win, in the company of Kentucky and Auburn. The 99-point total tied for fifth most in SEC history with Georgia falling to Georgia Tech in 1999 by the same score.

Junior quarterback Tyler Bray leads the Vols completing 237 for 388 pass attempts for 3,216 yards passing with 10 interceptions. Bray has 29 touchdown passes this season which is tied for fifth most in the NCAA.

Junior tailback Rajion Neal leads the team with 134 carries for 594 yards rushing and five scores. Sophomore Marlin Lane Jr. is a good north and south runner with 94 carries for 475 yards rushing and two scores.

Fullback Ben Bartholomew does not have a carry on the season but adds 9 catches for 79 yards. The senior brought in his first-career touchdown reception against Mississippi State.

Junior Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the most dangerous players on the team and leads the SEC with 1,453 all-purpose yards. Patterson racked up 275 all-purpose yards, including 219 receiving yards against Troy. Patterson also leads the Vols averaging 11.7 yards per rush, with 270 yards rushing and three scores. The junior receiver is second on the team with 39 catches for 638 receiving yards and 4 scores.

Justin Hunter leads Tennessee with 65 receptions for 979 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns. Hunter tied the Volunteer record with three receiving touchdowns in a game against Akron and Troy this year.

Nashville native and senior receiver, Zach Rogers averages 15.5 yards per reception and is second on the team with 5 receiving touchdowns. Senior tight end Mychal Rivera has put together an excellent year with 30 receptions for 485 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns.

The Vol's offensive line has been outstanding protecting Bray, allowing just five sacks this season. Tennessee has had the same starters for all 10 games at every position except right guard where Zach Fulton started nine games this season.

Junior right tackle Ja'Wuan James is a consistent starter with 35 career starts under his belt at the same position. At center James Stone started the first six games of 2011 at center and regained the position this season.

On the left side, sophomore left tackle Antonio Richardson has helped the Vols gain more than 500 yards of total offense on five different occasions this season. Senior left guard Dallas Thomas leads the line and has started the last 35 games in a row.

Tennessee has struggled heavily in the switch to the 3-4 defense. Though they have played some better opponents, the Vols have given up more points per game than Kentucky, ranking dead last in the SEC.

The Vols were dealt a blow when they learned sophomore Curt Maggitt is out for the season. Maggitt led the team in tackles for a loss (5), forced fumbles (2), with and two sacks, adding 2 sacks and 5 quarterback hurries. Junior Jacques Smith had 5 tackles, including a 10-yard sack, and four quarterback hurries against Mississippi State.

Middle linebacker A.J. Johnson racked up 21 total tackles in the Vols loss to Mississippi State. The sophomore leads the team with 112 tackles, including 4½ for a loss, and 6 quarterback hurries.

Senior linebacker Herman Lathers is third on the team with 54 tackles, including 4½ for a loss, and 2 sacks. Lathers tallied 15 tackles, an interception, and two tackles for a loss, in the Vols 38-35 loss to South Carolina.

Jordan Williams made his third start of the season against Mizzou tallying his second-career sack. The sophomore plays a linebacker/defensive end hybrid position and is moved around to try to create mismatches. Williams has 11 total tackles this season.

Tennessee's secondary is giving up 289.7 passing yards per game and is ranked 13th in the SEC in front of only Arkansas. Sophomore cornerback was outstanding with 13 tackles against Alabama. In seven starts, Coleman has a fourth-best 47 tackles, including 3½ for a loss, and 3 passes defended. The other cornerback spot is held down by redshirt senior Prentiss Waggner who is tied for second on the team with 2 interceptions, with 6 passes defended.

Free safety Byron Moore is quite the ball hawk with team highs in interceptions (4) and passes defended (7). The junior safety returned an interception 35 yards for a score against Georgia. Opposite Moore, true freshman LaDarrell McNeil has started the last five games for the Vols at strong safety. McNeil has tallied 40 tackles and returned a fumble for 33 yards to set up a score against Mizzou.

After two straight losing seasons and a season of turnover with new defensive coaches, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley is on the hottest seat in the SEC. With rumors swirling about his looming dismissal, the Vols are one loss away from guaranteeing their third consecutive losing season. Vandy will need to score some a good amount of points against a the offensive firepower still trying to get to a bowl.

Tennessee gets Kentucky at home next week for their final game of the season. The Commodores travel to Wake Forest after handling them in a 41-7 stomping in 2011. A win against the Vols would be a phenomenal way to wrap up the conference season for the already bowl bound Commodores.


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