COLUMBIA, S.C. — The pocket collapsed around him all night, receivers dropped passes and a reserve running back collided with him and forced a fumble.
But Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs showed up after the No. 18-ranked Vols’ shocking 24-21 loss at South Carolina and absorbed all the blame.
“I have to step it up,” said Dobbs, who was 12-of-26 passing for 161 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions.
“I felt like I didn’t play up to my standard personally. … I’ll get it corrected and keep us moving forward.”
Dobbs took complete responsibility for his fourth quarter interception at the South Carolina 46 with 3:42 left.
“They were in Cover 3, and then he undercut it, that’s straight up on me, understanding the coverage and understanding the situation, and checking the ball down to get the drive going,” Dobbs said. “They were doing different things up front, and twisting, different stunts, and we knew they would do that coming into the game.”
The Vols (5-3, 2-3 SEC) return to action at 4 p.m. ET next Saturday at Tennessee Tech (3-5).
Dobbs, who had 12 carries for 27 yards and had a 49-yard touchdown run called back, said Tennessee was in trouble from the start against the Gamecocks.
“It started on the first drive, we started off the game behind the sticks, and that’s something we talked about going into the game,” said Dobbs, who was sacked twice. “You don’t want to start behind the sticks, you want to be efficient on first down and second down and we weren’t.
“It’s tough to be successful when you’re dealing with third-and-long, third-and-15 throughout the game, and putting our defense in tough situations.”
Coach Butch Jones talked about Tennessee having more passion, and Dobbs said it needs to happen during the week of preparation, too.
“It’s just intensity level, (and) Coach Jones harps on us about having a complete practice, and if you can’t have a complete practice you can’t have a complete game,” Dobbs said. “So it starts with the practice mindset and energy.
“We have to go back to our practice habits and improve on those.”
Dobbs had a fourth quarter fumble that South Carolina recovered at midfield when freshman tailback Carlin Fils-Aime ran into him on a botched run-pass option.
Dobbs refused to put blame on the young running back, and he said it’s just a matter of him and Fils-Aime working on their steps in practice.