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REPORT CARD: Tennessee soars past UT-Martin 65-24

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Tennessee couldn’t have been presented with a better opponent to follow up one of the most memorable wins in the history of the Vols’ program. UT-Martin was teed up and the Vols took advantage.

The Vols beat UT-Martin 65-24 on Saturday to move to 7-0 and keep Tennessee’s national championship hopes alive. The game wasn’t surprising. Tennessee clearly had the better team. However, the Vols showed off as much maturity as talent by not allowing a let down to creep in after the monumental win against Alabama last week.

Quarterback – A

Hendon Hooker set the record for most consecutive games (19) with a touchdown pass. However, he did under throw a couple of receivers during the game, but still completed 18-of-24 passes for 276 yards and three touchdown passes. Joe Milton III threw four completions on seven attempts for 135 yards and a touchdown. 

Running Backs – A

The Vols have a tremendous one-two punch in Jabari Small and Jaylen Wright. They also may have a third option if it’s needed. Dylan Sampson ran 13 times for 62 yards and a touchdown, which included a 45-yard run. Small ran 11 times for 33 yards and a touchdown. Jaylen Wright ran six times for 23 yards.

Receivers/Tight Ends – A

Jalin Hyatt picked up right where he left off from Alabama’s record-setting performance, catching seven passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Ramel Keyton continues to a be a fantastic option. He caught five passes for 41 yards on Saturday.

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Tight end Princeton Fant had a career day. He caught two passes for 12 yards. Both resulted in a touchdown. Fant also threw a touchdown pass to Hyatt on a trick play. Freshman Squirrel White caught five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. The world needs more Squirrel.

Offensive Line – A

Tennessee ran for 201 yards on 46 carries. The Vols’ second-team struggled at times against UT-Martin. The Vols’ first-team wasn’t challenged like they will be against Kentucky on Saturday. Nevertheless, it’s time to consider Tennessee’s offensive line a team strength. The Vols moved the line of scrimmage against UT-Martin just like they did against Alabama.

Dave Hooker and Caleb Calhoun break down UT’s win over UT-Martin

Defensive Line – A

Much like Tennessee’s offensive line, the defensive line continues to push people around. The Vols didn’t really standout on the defensive line, but they really didn’t have to. Tyre West registered a sack and continues to show some impressive upside.

Linebackers – B

Tennessee’s linebackers have been questioned plenty in pass coverage and, frankly, it’s tough to draw many conclusions from the game against UT-Martin. However, the Vols did get a sack from Solon Page III. The Vols’ linebackers seem to be trending in the right direction, but there’s only so much you can glean from a game against the Skyhawks.

Secondary – C

The Vols gave up 316 passing yards in mostly soft coverage. William Wright intercepted a pass, but UT-Martin did find some holes in Tennessee’s pass coverage. Tennessee’s secondary still needs to improve.

Special Teams – C+

Dee Williams had a nice punt return that flipped the field on UT-Martin. Chase McGrath missed a field goal and Toby Wilson missed an extra point. McGrath gets a pass after his game-wining kick against the Crimson Tide.

Coaching – A

The Vols don’t look like a team that is going to overlook anyone. They didn’t against UT-Martin, which was incredibly overmatched. Tennessee did what they needed to do and that was beat up on the Skyhawks and get its starters out of the game. Mission accomplished.

Overall – A

Of course, the Vols wanted to win the game but some style points, which the Vols displayed on Saturday, can only help UT if a tough decision about the College Football Playoff must be made.

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