Tennessee beats Kentucky, 27-14
Joshua Dobbs threw two touchdown passes and ran 40 yards for
another, and Tennessee broke a four-game losing streak with a 27-14
over rival Kentucky on Saturday night.
The Volunteers (5-7, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) bounced back
from their heartbreaking last-minute loss to Vanderbilt by scoring
first-half touchdowns on long plays en route to their first victory
since upsetting South Carolina in October. Tennessee avoided its
first eight-loss season in program history and improved to 76-24-9
against the Wildcats.
After throwing five interceptions without a touchdown, freshman
quarterback Dobbs hit Jason Croom for a 43-yard TD and a 7-yarder
to Devrin Young.
Tailback Raijon Neal meanwhile capped his senior season with
1,124 yards by rushing for 134 on 20 carries including a 60-yard TD
on the game’s second play.
Kentucky (2-10, 0-8) finished winless in the SEC in back-to-back
seasons for the first time since 1941-42.
Tennessee finished the season by outgaining Kentucky 417-393 for
its third-highest offensive output. A defense that recorded just
one sack during the losing streak dropped Wildcats quarterback
Maxwell Smith five times.
Tennessee defensive end Corey Miller, who entered the game with
five career sacks, had a record 4.5 to pass Reggie White, who had
four against The Citadel in 1983.
Dobbs finished 14 of 23 passing for 199 yards and an
Saturday marked the last time as the season finale between the
schools. Kentucky will face in-state rival Louisville beginning
next season with the Wildcats’ border rivalry becoming their
It was also Commonwealth Stadium’s final game in its current
configuration before work starts soon on a two-year renovation that
will add suites and a recruiting lounge while modernizing other
Wildcats rookie coach Mark Stoops might need that long to
continue his upgrade of Kentucky’s on-field product. His first
season ended in another 2-10 finish and extended their SEC losing
streak to 16 games, capped by back-to-back league losses in which
the Wildcats regressed on both sides of the ball.
The Wildcats managed a second-quarter touchdown through trickery
including quarterback Smith going in motion on one play and running
back Dyshawn Mobley taking a direct snap from the wildcat formation
Smith completed the 75-yard drive by hitting Anthony Kendrick
with a 19-yard touchdown pass to bring Kentucky within 20-7. He
added a 14-yard TD pass to Javess Blue in the fourth quarter.
Before that Tennessee scored three big-play touchdowns,
compiling 281 first-half yards that surpassed last week’s total
(237) in a loss to Vanderbilt.
Tennessee got on the board on the game’s second play as Neal,
who entered the game 10 yards shy of 1,000 for the season, got that
plus 50 more on his first carry around right end for the
Dobbs made it 14-0 two series later by completing his first TD
pass of the season. But it almost became his sixth INT as Kentucky
defender Jaleel Hytchye bobbled the ball twice before it bounced to
the Volunteers’ Jason Croom, who held on and jogged into the end
zone for the 43-yard score.
Some things held form for Dobbs as Kentucky’s Ashley Lowery
picked him off in the second quarter without a receiver close. The
Wildcats couldn’t take advantage after driving into Tennessee
territory a third time, catching a break when Landon Foster’s punt
was downed at the 2.
Poor field position didn’t faze Tennessee or Dobbs, who moved
the Volunteers 98 yard and capped the drive by bursting through the
middle for a 40-yard TD run.