RUSSO'S RECAP | Tigers pounce on UT’s Bowl push

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A November to remember for Tennessee is still within reach, but the battle for a Bowl bid now extends into next week’s regular season finale at Vanderbilt.

The Vols were coming off consecutive wins against Charlotte and then 11th ranked Kentucky holding both teams to a combined 10 points. However, a team which showed so much promise the previous week looked quite suspect only one Saturday later.

Unfortunately, when the Spotlight has shined on this Tennessee squad in 2018, the Vols have succumbed to the pressure. UT completes the season 0-4 in the CBS game of the week losing to West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, and now a very good Missouri team. A group of Tigers quarterbacked by one of the best in the college game, Drew Lock, who would not disappoint in front of several NFL scouts at Neyland.

Calling the shots for Lock and the Mizzou offense these days is none other than former Vols head coach Derek Dooley, but I prefer to think it was more about a disparity in talent than Derek’s play calling in this one. Talent at several spots, beginning at the all important QB position, but most importantly in the trenches where the Vols took a step back in that area on both sides of the ball Saturday. The turnover bug would rear its ugly head again for the Vols, something you don’t see from a team ready to take that next step. Why do the Patriots, Alabama, and even Maryville Rebels win consistently? Well it’s because they don’t beat themselves, something this young Tennessee squad has not been able to fully grasp.
With good coaching, which I feel the Vols do have in place, you’d expect that to eventually become the norm.

As for how this season plays out, I would hate to think that Dooley and
in-state rival Vandy could play a role in keeping the Vols from becoming Bowl eligible, but after Saturday, that’s a distinct possibility. You know, 20 years ago, winning six games and becoming Bowl eligible was the norm, it was no big deal! But how times have changed, and yes, winning six games and gaining Bowl eligibility is a big deal now and the necessary step for a program desperately desiring the respect of days gone by. Here’s to next week! Anchor Down Vols and sink those Commodores for win number six!