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Seven Maxims Scorecard: Kentucky

Rating the Vols' performance against THE standard for all University of Tennessee football games

Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

(EDITOR'S NOTE:  We love to empower good ideas from our community, and this is a great one from ChrisKF1)

Since the 1930’s the University of Tennessee has been measuring themselves against seven keys to winning football as first summarized by General Robert Neyland. The Seven Maxims Scorecard is a quantitative and qualitative analysis of how, relative to that week’s opponent, the Vols performed against each of the seven directives. Grading is on a 4.0 scale, with a 4.0 being perfect, which is rare. In this analysis, it’s possible for Tennessee to have won without excelling on all fronts, but it is impossible to have performed well in all seven areas in a loss. Here goes:


1. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win. (3.0)

Maxim 1

For a game so lopsided, this score might seem a bit low but a fumble return for touchdown by the opponent to open scoring would be a much bigger deal in most games. Special shout out to Emmanuel Mosely; his targeting penalty – one of only three on the day for the Vols – was a completely clean play and almost a textbook example of not targeting.

2. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE. (3.1)

Maxim 2

Again, for a dominant performance, the turnovers – and the resulting points – were the same for both teams. On another day this would be a bigger deal.

3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam.

Maxim 3

Kentucky’s first score – the 77yd fumble return for touchdown – is exactly what the Third Maxim is warning against. The offense was able to flip field position and then the defense got a 3-and-out. On the Wildcats’ next score, Tennessee got the TD back in 1 play. Following Kentucky’s final score, Evan Berry took the ensuing kickoff to the house. Not to be outdone, the defense then forced a punt that Cam Sutton also returned for a touchdown. This would be the definition of "putting on more steam!"

4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game.

Maxim 4

It’s hard to get too upset over 1 sack but when you add in the fumble caused by pressure on Dobbs – and the resulting 77yd TD run – there’s got to be a bit of a downgrade on the scoring. On the other hand, time of possession was technically even but considering Tennessee had two 1-play TD drives and two more TDs on special teams "even" is more than enough.

5. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE. (3.6)

Many of the statistics that are indicative of the above are difficult to find. These are items like big plays, redzone turnovers, tipped passes, yards after contact, yards after catch, etc… But here’s what we know:

Maxim 5

Beyond the easily-sourced stats, Tennessee scored on a big play ("balling") and the cornerbacks had an excellent performance against a talented group of receivers in a gameplan that left them on an island for much of the night.

6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.

Maxim 6

Hard to imagine a finer all-around special teams performance. And nice to see Medley quietly have a perfect day. Tennessee will most likely need him to make a FG under pressure to win a game yet this season so hopefully this game will serve as a step toward getting his confidence back.

7. Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes. (3.9)

Butch Jones probably knew they had the better team and called an excellent game from start to finish. After Kentucky’s disappointing first score, there was no panic. OC Mike DeBord is calling more plays to Josh Dobbs’ strengths. DC John Jancek has been consistently bringing more pressure, which suits the young but talented defense. Kudos to coach Jones for getting Dormady and John Kelly some decent 4th quarter snaps. Only the slightest of downgrades for not letting the freshman QB throw the ball.

Bottom Line Seven Maxims Scorecard Result: 3.6

Tennessee’s production in all three phases of the game was matched only by the coaching staff’s gameplan. A great win all-around.