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Arkansas State Indians at Tennessee Volunteers: post-game awards

Best decision. Tennessee's second drive stalled at the 20, forcing a Daniel Lincoln field goal attempt, which was good. When Lincoln was roughed after the kick, Volunteer coaches had to decide whether to keep the three on the board or forego the points for another opportunity. They chose to go for more points, and on the next play Erik Ainge hit Chris Brown for a 15 yard touchdown.

Worst decision. After Rico McCoy was hit with his own roughing penalty, the Indians kicked off from the 45. LaMarcus Coker caught the ball in the end zone and decided to run it out. With the entire kick coverage unit already 15 yards further down field than usual, Coker only made it to the 11 yard line.

Best offensive drive. Fortunately, the Vols were up to the task, driving 89 yards for a touchdown in just 2:47 seconds. The drive featured pass plays of 23 yards (to Austin Rogers), 13 yards (to Jeff Cottam), 24 yards (to Coker), and the Best Decision mentioned above.

Player of the game, offense. Lucas Taylor, who had seven catches for 104 yards, two touchdowns, and two plays for the highlight reel: a beautiful one-handed grab of a 23-yard pass, and a 17-yard touchdown during which he broke two tackles to get into the end zone.

Worst recurring nightmare, I. There was yet another fumbled exchange between quarterback and running back. This time it was Ainge to Lennon Creer.

Worst recurring nightmare, II. The offense gave up yet another touchdown in this game. Tyrell Johnson intercepted a huh? pass from Ainge and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown.

Best defensive stand, I. On the Indians' second drive, the Tennessee defense finally made somebody go backwards, although they did get a little help from the offense. On the first first down, the Vols held them to a one yard rush, and the Indians gave up another ten on a holding penalty. On first and 19, the d-line stuffed them for a one yard loss. After a second down incompletion, they stopped the quarterback after a five yard scramble.

Best defensive stand, II. Mid-way through the fourth quarter, the Vol defense forced the Indians into three incompletions and a punt.

Best defensive stand, III. Late in the third quarter, Tennessee forced another three and out. Jonathan Hefney almost intercepted the first pass attempt, and DeAngelo Willingham and Eric Berry combined to almost intercept the second. Nevin McKenzie, who has moved from defensive back to linebacker, made an excellent play and tackle from behind on a screen pass on third down.

Player of the game, defense. Robert Ayers, who had six total tackles (five solo), two sacks, and another tackle for a loss.

Worst consistency. The Tennessee defense, which despite breaking up several passes and intercepting two of them, and despite getting decent pressure on the quarterback, gave up 178 yards rushing and 196 yards passing to the Indians. The defense is still giving up way too many big gains on both running and passing plays.

Best disappearing act. Jonathan Hefney, who busted out several highlights as a punt returner last season, but who gained -17 yards on four returns Saturday.

Player of the game, special teams. Daniel Lincoln, who has set a Tennessee record by hitting the first eight field goal attempts of his career.

Worst missed opportunity. Tie between several defensive backs who got their hands on several passes, but only came down with two of them.

Worst yikes. Xavier Mitchell, who remained on the turf for several minutes after getting hit where no man wants to get hit.

Oddest reaction to a score. Arkansas State's Reggie Arnold, who came off the field doing the Gator chomp after just barely breaking the plane on a short yardage touchdown. Okay, then.

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