Be sure to check back to see what the IT staff has to say about the Tennessee game every Saturday this fall.
Randy Moore's thoughts
Tennessee's offense nearly blew the game in the first half, enabling LSU to parlay an interception into a 5-yard touchdown drive and a disastrous possession into a 36-yard TD march en route to a 17-7 halftime lead.
Tennessee's defense collapsed in the second half, surrendering time-consuming touchdown drives of 66, 99 and 65 yards without posting a single stop. Even with the Vols massing to stop the run, LSU was able to rush the ball effectively in the second half, especially quarterback Jordan Jefferson.
After being limited to minus rushing yards by Florida and Georgia, Tennessee got 111 vs. LSU, which was encouraging. Matt Simms averaged 21 yards per completion (6 for 20, 128 yards) but threw two costly interceptions.
The defense played a great first half but an awful second half. Devrin Young had a couple of excellent kickoff returns to upgrade an otherwise nondescript special-teams performance by the Vols.
Defense: A (first half), F (second half)
Special Teams: B
Danny Parker's thoughts
An inability to get off the field on third downs by mostly failing to contain run plays outside the hashes was a back-breaker for Tennessee.
LSU was 6 of 12 on third downs and netted 260 rushing yards out of their grand total of 383. That led to the Tigers owning the time of possession battle 38:19 to 21:41.
"If you can't get off on third down against them, they'll wear you down," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said.
The Volunteers must get both faster and more physical in the future at outside linebacker and defensive end.
Although its offense left it in impossible positions with a pair of first-half turnovers, the Vol defense was solid for most of the first half.
Even though everyone loves the back-up quarterback, Matt Simms (6 of 20 passing) showed some rust and showed why the staff went with Tyler Bray with several games left in 2010.
The Vols didn't gift wrap LSU defensive back and returnman Tyrann Mathieu the Heisman Trophy and played well in special teams coverage. Both UT punters did well. Michael Palardy didn't have a field goal attempt.
Special teams: B
Chris Price's thoughts
To be honest, this game was about what I expected. Tennessee held with them for about a half. Derek Dooley just doesn't have the talent yet. LSU probably has double-digit players in their defensive lineup and Tennessee doesn't have anywhere close to that.
The Tennessee defense played well as long as they could. When the offense couldn't move the ball they got worn down. Marsalis Teague was pulled after being exposed once again this week.
A.J. Johnson played well and definitely has a bring future for the Volunteers. Speaking of bring futures - Devrin Young. The Bearden product is worth every penny of his scholarship and has proved extremely useful in the return game.
Matt Simms didn't play great, but he didn't get any help from Da'Rick and Zach Rogers who both dropped very catchable balls in the first half.
On special teams, Matt Darr had a fairly good day punting the ball and pinned LSU at the 1-yard line once with a beautiful punt. Michael Palardy's kick offs were also very good. And Devrin Young gave a spark on several returns.
Overall, I would say it was a good learning experience for the team and they fought well for a couple of quarters against a superior team.
Special Teams: A
Josh Woodwards thoughts
The Big Orange just couldn't keep up with the number one ranked Tigers. LSU was able to run the ball with back up Jordan Jefferson and make enough timely throw to Rueben Randle to hand the Vols their third loss. Although this was a bad loss, Tennessee has improved. The Vols looked better run blocking and pass blocking. They also played better on the defensive front against a great LSU offensive line.
The Vols offense showed some signs in the first half, but two costly interceptions stalled drives and LSU was able to take advantage and score points on one of the turnovers. Tennessee was able to run the ball against a good defense and that was a positive to take from this game. Da'Rick Rogers needs to be more of factor in the game, he did make a couple of catches but otherwise was a nonfactor. The offensive line played the best game of the year against a great LSU front.
Defensively the Big Orange played well in the first half, but got tired after the offense couldn't get anything going in the second half. Austin Johnson continued to play well at linebacker as did Curt Maggitt. Marsalis Teague was pulled in the second half after struggling to cover Randle, they moved Prentiss over to corner and brought in freshman Brian Randolph at safety. This maybe a lineup Tennessee needs to stay with.
Special Teams played well the whole game whether in the return game or coverage. Matt Darr is punting well even pinning the Tigers inside the one. Devrin Young is a spark on this team, he is an electric returner and worth every penny of his scholarship. He will be a great return man for the Vols for the next four years.
Special Teams: B