Daily Beacon Sports Editor David Cobb and Copy Editor Dargan Southard covered the UT-Western Kentucky matchup and assessed grades based on Saturday's performance.
Western Kentucky's abundance of turnovers was both a blessing and a curse for UT quarterback Justin Worley. UT's longest first half scoring drive was 22 yards and Worley's underwhelming stat line reflected that at halftime. Though the offense showed more potency in the second half, Worley's performance failed to impress. - David Cobb
Running Backs: A-
Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane responded well after Jones demanded earlier in the week that the two focus on running north and south. Lane led the Volunteers in rushing on Saturday with 97 yards and a touchdown while Neal added 74 yards and three scores. The consistency of the running game was crucial as Tennessee struggled to find success through the air. - Dargan Southard
Wide Receivers: B-
Josh Smith showed reliability, hauling in three catches for 36 yards in just his second game as a Vol. Sophomore Johnathon Johnson – seeing action in place of the injured Devrin Young – hauled in a 37-yard catch in the second half.
Marquez North made an impressive play late in the first quarter on an underthrown pass, but a drop by Jason Croom and lack of consistency from this group keeps it from earning a better grade. - DC
Offensive Line: A-
A direct factor to the productive running game, UT's offensive line was a cornerstone of the Vols 32-point victory. The burly men upfront opened hole after hole for both Neal and Lane and only allowed one sack of Worley. - DS
Defensive Line: B
Jordan Williams showed ability to pressure the quarterback from his defensive end slot where he has seen more action because of an injury to Jacques Smith. He racked up four tackles and 1.5 sacks on Saturday.
Aside from a 47-yard run by Antonio Andrews, this unit did its part in bottling up the Hilltoppers. - DC
Dontavis Sapp's strip and fumble recovery was a thing of beauty as the high-energy play led to a Vols field goal. Senior Brent Brewer also got in on the action with a forced fumble and a nice diving interception. However, many times, the linebackers — including A.J. Johnson — appeared lost in pass coverage, which led to several huge plays. Curt Maggitt's likely return next week will be a boost to the athleticism of this group. - DS
Five interceptions by four players in this unit against WKU was the difference in the game. The secondary was not flawless, but the effort put forth verified that UT's defense is on the path to recovery from an abysmal 2012 season. - DC
Special Teams: C
While Michael Palardy did pin WKU on its own 2-yard line with a first quarter punt and hit his lone field goal, his second quarter blocked punt resurrected Western Kentucky's momentum. The failed boot gave WKU a first-and-goal opportunity, which was eventually cashed in for a touchdown. Vincent Dallas was a bright spot on special teams as he settled in nicely at kick returner, replacing the injured Devrin Young. - DS
Week Two GPA: The Vols earn a 3.05 for their performance against Western Kentucky.
Season GPA: By Daily Beacon grading standards, the Vols sit at 3.21 for the season.