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Vols' statistical rankings after Utah State

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It's early, so take this with a block of salt, but here are Tennessee's stat rankings after the first week of action.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Statistical rankings are particularly sneaky and deceptive after one game, but with that caveat compiling this week's results still led to some interesting findings. Without taking all of this too seriously, let's take a quick look at where the Vols rank in each of the official NCAA statistical categories and how that compares to the season's worth of results from last year.

Before we do, though, I'd like to point out that someone's (I forget whose) projected Top Four in the inaugural College Football Playoff included Florida State, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Georgia, and that Tennessee plays three of those four in the regular season. If I'm not mistaken, Florida is the only other team with that on tap. All right, then. On to the weekly rankin's.

What Tennessee is doing well early

The first thing that jumps out here is that you wouldn't expect a team that was among the very absolute worst at stopping the other team on 4th down to actually stop its opponent at its first opportunity this year. Yeah, it's only once, but woo for a 116-spot swing.

A meh kind of ditto on Passes Had Intercepted. UT's QBs were really bad at that last year, so getting through the first game without any is a cause of huzzahs.

Other than that, it's just nice to see all of that green. (Green denotes those stats in which Tennessee ranks in the Top 30.) Much of that is formerly yellow, and some is formerly WARNING RED BAD.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Top 30
Category 2011 2012 2013

Utah St.

4th Down Conversion Pct Defense 48 86 117 1
Fumbles Lost 6 28 24 1
Passes Had Intercepted 63 83 107 1
Red Zone Defense 47 115 11 1
Red Zone Offense 58 29 100 1
Turnovers Lost 20 58 87 1
Turnover Margin 59 88 54 6
Passes Intercepted 86 56 40 10
Scoring Defense 36 104 78 10
Turnovers Gained 91 95 35 11
First Downs Defense 18 86 45 14
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense 57 50 91 16
Fumbles Recovered 71 113 29 19
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 58 21
Total Defense 28 107 83 22

Where Tennessee needs major improvement

Oh, this is kind of cool, too. When we last looked at this, Tennessee was finishing the 2013 season with 17 -- 17! -- entries in this Bottom 30 chart. Today, after one game, we have one. It likely won't stay like that -- Oklahoma and Georgia are looming in the hazy horizon, after all -- but hey, you take what you can get and you take it when you can get it. Also, if you're going to be bad at something, let's not be bad at running the football.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Bottom 30
Category 2011 2012 2013 Utah St.
Rushing Offense 116 61 44 91

THE BIG FAT MIDDLE

And here's the rest, for tracking purposes.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Middle of the Rankings
Category 2011 2012 2013 Utah St.
Passing Yards Allowed 12 111 27 31
Rushing Defense 69 85 100 39
Scoring Offense 106 22 94 41
Team Passing Efficiency 69 31 111 42
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game 51 67 21 43
Passing Offense 50 15 109 44
Time of Possession 37 116 91 44
First Downs Offense 98 20 101 47
Team Tackles for Loss 67 48 90 47
Tackles for Loss Allowed 38 9 37 48
Fewest Penalties Per Game 56 92 26 56
3rd Down Conversion Pct 56 81 92 57
4th Down Conversion Pct 91 80 76 62
Kickoff Return Defense 7 47 118 62
Sacks Allowed 40 5 21 65
Net Punting 104 52 28 70
Team Sacks 100 98 99 73
Total Offense 104 18 102 79
Kickoff Returns 41 80 20 84
Punt Returns 61 22 51 84
Punt Return Defense 85 67 92 85
Passing Yards per Completion 115 87

Players in the Top 30

Presenting . . . the Beast Chart.

Player Stat 2011 2012 2013 Utah St.
A.J. Johnson Forced Fumbles 3
A.J. Johnson Interceptions 4
Todd Kelly, Jr. Fumbles Recovered 4
Cameron Sutton Interceptions 4
Justin Worley Completion Percentage 16
A.J. Johnson Passes Defended 17
Dontavis Sapp Fumbles Recovered 9
Michael Palardy Punting 11
Devaun Swafford Punt Return TDs 14
A.J. Johnson Tackles 4
Byron Moore Interceptions 13
Cordarrelle Patterson Kickoff Returns 14
Cordarrelle Patterson All-Purpose Runners 16
Tyler Bray Total Offense 19
Justin Hunter Receiving Yards Per Game 22
Devrin Young Punt Returns 28
Tyler Bray Passing Efficiency 29
Austin Johnson Interceptions 23