Tennessee football: Five takeaways from Vols’ 30-17 loss at Auburn

Oct 10, 2020; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Bo Nix (10) rolls out to pass against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the fourth quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s what we learned from the Tennessee football Volunteers’ loss at the Tigers.

For the first time since 1988, Tennessee football is in the midst of a five-game losing streak. It’s the first time in school history the Vols lost five straight by double digits, as they blew a two-score lead for the second straight game, falling to the Auburn Tigers 30-17.

UT jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but Auburn then tied it up before halftime. They scored 17 more unanswered in the second half, helped by a pick-six when Rocky Top was in the red zone, to take control of the game. The Vols scored a fourth quarter touchdown, before an Auburn field goal became the final points of the game.

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With the win, the Tigers improve to 5-2 ahead of their matchup with the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Vols fall to 2-5 and will visit the Vanderbilt Commodores next week. Here are five takeaways from Tennessee football’s loss.

1. Pass defense collapsed again.

There’s just no way around this one. Tennessee football knocked Tank Bigsby out of the game early, which should have rendered Auburn one-dimensional. However, the pass defense continued to collapse.

This time, the Vols managed to let it happen before the third quarter. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead, UT had a busted coverage that allowed Bo Nix to find Anthony Schwartz for a 54-yard touchdown pass.

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That continued the rest of the way. The only slight positive all game was an interception by Bryce Thompson in the end zone and a few plays by the pass rush, most notably two sacks by Kivon Bennett, one of which forced Auburn to settle for a field goal. However, that shows how bad the pass defense was.

The key to beating Auburn was always to keep Nix in the pocket. UT did that. However, Nix still completed 17-of-26 passes for 220 yards and that touchdown. After that Thompson interception, he completed 15-of-19 passes for 189 yard. Simply put, this unit was bad again.

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