The Wildcats lost in their fifth-consecutive attempt to secure an elusive sixth victory, suffering a 50-16 beating at the hands of Tennessee on Saturday at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.
Tennessee (5-5, 2-4 SEC) outgained UK 511-262 in a game that was never remotely competitive. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs passed for 297 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 48 yards and another score to lead the Volunteers to their third straight win over the Cats and their 29th in the last 30 meetings between the two schools. Freshman running back Jalen Hurd added 118 yards rushing and a touchdown for UT.
Kentucky (5-6, 2-6 SEC) fell behind 30-3 midway through the second quarter and never recovered from the Vols’ early punches. The Tennessee defense held the Cats to just 2.8 yards per rushing attempt and picked off two passes, including Brian Randolph’s 23-yard return for a touchdown.
In this AllWildcats "Rapid Recap" feature, we touch on some of the day's highs and lows:
WHAT WENT WRONG: As Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops pointed out after last week’s 63-31 loss to Georgia, the Cats simply did not show the competitiveness required to play against an SEC opponent. When a one-on-one play needed to be made, it was the Vols making the play. Tackling was once again a major issue as the UK defense provided little or no resistance. The Cats are in the middle of a long, grueling stretch of the season, and its showing. They look both mentally and physically downtrodden right now.
KEY MOMENT: The Cats opened the game with some decent momentum, driving 77 yards in 13 plays to take a 3-0 lead on an Austin MacGinnis field goal, but that didn’t last long. Tennessee needed only five plays and 87 seconds to reach the end zone and claim the lead for good on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Dobbs to Von Pearson.
STAT OF THE DAY: Over the last two weeks, the Kentucky defense has allowed 1,070 yards and 12 touchdowns while forcing only four opponent punts. It marked the first time since the disastrous 1994 campaign that UK had given up 50-plus points in back to back games.
QUOTABLE: “We need to regroup. They need a little time mentally and physically to regroup, decompress, and we’ve got one more chance, oh yeah, and it’s against our arch-rival." - UK head coach Mark Stoops
UP NEXT: Kentucky has its final open date of the season before traveling to Louisville on Nov. 29 to face the arch-rival Cardinals. A lot will be on the line for both teams in the first end-of-season Governor’s Cup matchup.