Here’s how the Tennessee Volunteers graded after their 34-20 loss to No. 4 Alabama.


 Entering midway through the first quarter, the sophomore shined in his first appearance of the season. Dobbs threw for 192 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 19-of-32 passing. He also led the Vols with 75 rushing yards on 19 attempts. But Tennessee had two turnovers, both coming late with several Alabama starters off the field.


The Vols entered as the No. 19 total defense in the country, but looked incapable of stopping the Tide on most possessions. Alabama jumped out to a 20-0 lead and managed to hold momentum, despite Tennessee’s offensive improvement. Cameron Sutton, who has been one of the SEC’s best defensive backs this season, was dominated by Amari Cooper, who finished with 224 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches.


Tennessee’s special teams held Alabama to 18.3 yards on kick returns and zero punt returns. Matt Darr averaged 41.8 yards on five punts and placed two attempts inside the 20-yard line. Aaron Medley went 2-for-2 on field goal attempts and 2-for-2 on extra point attempts.


Butch Jones decision to start Nathan Peterman over Dobbs is a head scratcher. But the play calling from offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian was improved from recent weeks. Having a mobile quarterback should improve Bajakian’s scheme for the remainder of the season, but its still far from stellar.


Tennessee played somewhat better than expected. The Vols managed to cut their deficit and improve on offense with a third-string quarterback under center. I’m just as sick of the phrase “moral victory” as any other college football fan. However, Tennessee looked impressive after responding to a 20-0 deficit. The Vols have the young talent across the board and have laid the foundation for a rising program, but must survive the 2014 season with six wins to keep optimism high.