Tate was playing poorly for most of the game. He fumbled, fell down in the backfield, threw a pick, and probably should have been picked off a couple other times. Denard led the last TD drive and RRod went with the hot hand. You simply can't reward a player for performing poorly - it sends a message to the team that if you perform poorly you WILL be benched, no matter who you are. Just ask Cissoko. Sure, it would have been good to see Tate out there to try to win it, but the games this year aren't necessarily about this season, it's about developing players for the next couple seasons. So, enjoy the development of the players this year because they are preparing them to be game ready next year.
Tennessee is not recruiting well just because they got 18 dudes