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

interception.

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

next-to-last contest.

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

facilities.

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

on another.

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

touchdown.

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.