Losing out on the SEC East division title was a hard pill to swallow for many Tennessee fans. However, the hope of the school’s first trip to the Sugar Bowl since 1991 led not only to renewed optimism from much of the fan base but an additional incentiveĀ for the players from Rocky Top to take care of business in Nashville against a 5-6 Vanderbilt team.

With so much on the line, it’s not really surprising Tennessee failed to accomplish the job at hand to finish the regular season. Despite getting help with the losses of Texas A&M, Auburn, and Florida over the weekend, the Vols’ chances of returning to New Orleans this postseason have been dashed thanks to the 45-34 loss to the Commodores.

In the road upset, Tennessee’s defense gave up 416 passing yards to Vandy quarterback Kyle Shurmur and 114 rushing yards to Ralph Webb on 21 carries. For the game, the Commodores offense racked up 608 total yards.

In his postgame press conference, Jones addressed the improved play from Vanderbilt’s quarterback:

“Well, he’s gained a lot of confidence in his last couple of weeks,” Jones said. “They’ve done a good job of throwing the football and when they got down a little bit, I knew they would throw the ball a little bit more. But again, give them credit, but (Tennessee’s) fundamentals and details were lacking.”

The fourth-year coach also touched on the disappointment of losing another game and the expectations within the team’s own locker room:

It appears Jones’ press conference ended before many knew it had even started.

It’s fair to ask if Jones wasn’t up to the task of answers many questions after his team’s latest upset loss.