Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley could only shake his head at the postgame press conference.
After losing 38-35 to No. 17 South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 SEC), in what could have been a comeback win for the Volunteers, Dooley was once again disappointed with the team's (3-5, 0-5 SEC) final score.
"I though we were gonna win and we didn't get it done," he said.
With Dooley's job currently in question, a win against a ranked SEC team would have been exactly what the team needed to pull them out of a rut. Dooley said the only thing they can do is move on to next week's matchup against Troy.
"We didn't accomplish what we wanted to against these SEC top teams," Dooley said. "We gotta turn the page and we can still have a really good season and that's all we can focus on."
Despite the loss, the team managed to stop the Gamecocks' defensive line and keep the offense rolling. One of his primary concerns prior to the game, Dooley said he felt the offensive line played well.
"They did a great job against one of the top defenses in college football," Dooley said. "We put 472 yards on them and 35 points, but that wasn't enough."
But Dooley's faith in his team hasn't shattered.
"I still believe in the team," Dooley said.
The team drove for 472 yards with 368 from the passing game. Wide receivers Justin Hunter and Zach Rogers combined for 14 of the team's 28 receptions.
"What Zach does is he plays fast without the ball and he practices fast without the ball, and I think that develops a lot of trust with Tyler on where he's gonna be," Dooley said.
His energy in practice has been a development over time.
"He's a senior," Dooley said. "He's seen the value of it and he's getting rewarded for it."
Rogers' drive in practice is something Dooley would like to see emulated by his other receivers.
"If you don't play fast without the ball or you don't practice fast all the time, you can't get that trust and rhythm and timing right, and it's something that receivers aren't overtiring," Dooley said.
Rogers said the team's recent trend in close games and disappointing losses has been difficult on the team and is something they have all observed.
"We have it in our grasp every time and somehow it doesn't go our way and it's very frustrating, very disappointing for us," Rogers said. "At the same time, we still have a lot of football left to play and that's the benefit of it."
On the offense's last play, the line broke and Bray was unable to hold onto the ball, resulting in a Tennessee turnover with only a few minutes left in the game. Rogers said he thought that was the play the Vols were going to win on.
"We had a lot of momentum going into that last drive and I thought we were gonna score, no doubt," Rogers said. "I thought we were gonna go up and win this ball game and break the streak. Unfortunately things happen and they didn't go our way."
Rogers said this is a typical issue in the SEC.
"One mistake and you're behind on the ball game and that's what got us tonight," he said.