Tennessee rallies past Kentucky 38-35

Kentucky raced to a shocking 21-0 lead over No. 6 Tennessee on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium, but faltered down the stretch in a 38-35 loss...

LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Phil Fulmer recalls how it used to look when you put Kentucky and Tennessee on the dried turf a football field in mid-November.

Those memories don't resemble anything like 42-16, the average margin of victory by the Volunteers during a 16-game winning streak over their Southeastern Conference border rivals to the north. Or even worse, the laughable 58-23 margin during the last four years.

Kentucky DE Dennis Johnson (56) took down Tennessee QB Casey Clausen for his school-record 11th sack of the season.

The Tennessee winning streak reached 17 here Saturday, but a rivalry may have been rekindled. The sixth-ranked Vols had to overcome Jared Lorenzen's 406-yard passing performance and a 21-0 deficit before escaping raucous Commonwealth Stadium with a thrilling 38-35 victory on Alex Walls' 44-yard field goal with 2:49 remaining.

Kentucky had one final shot to tie or win the game --- and as it had done all day, was marching toward that goal --- but tight end Chase Harp was hit hard by Tennessee linebacker Eddie Moore after a 21-yard gain to the Vols' 27 and fumbled the ball. Will Overstreet recovered the ball, and UT ran out the clock for a hard-fought win.

"I don't think there was any doubt on our sideline that we were going to go down, score and pull this win out," Kentucky coach Guy Morriss said. "I talked to (Harp) in the tunnel and told him his fumble did not cost us the game. We had chances to score and pick up points and we just didn't.

"I'd be lying if I didn't think the goalposts were coming down."

"I'm proud of the win," Fulmer said. "But I compliment Kentucky on what they did today. That's the way I remember Kentucky and Tennessee football games as a player and assistant coach. They were always a battle and always will be a battle.

"They emotionally outplayed us and physically outplayed us."

The final stats reflected Wildcat triumphs in nearly every category, with the notable exception of the score.

Kentucky (2-8 overall, 1-7 SEC) topped the Vols 543-367 in total yards, 24-15 in first downs, 137-82 in rushing yards and held a 37-23 advantage in time of possession.

Kentucky RB Artose Pinner (20) ran over Tennessee SS Julian Battle for some of his 52 yards rushing on the day.

"Jared Lorenzen --- I'm telling you --- we were all over him and he kept making plays," Fulmer said. "He's a player."

But the game's only two turnovers loomed large, and both belonged to the Cats.

Down 21-14 in the third quarter, Tennessee got an interception from defensive tackle Rashad Moore on a Lorenzen pass tipped at the line of scrimmage by Albert Haynesworth. Moore was stripped by UK's Chad Scott on his way to the end zone, but the loose ball found its way into UT defensive end Constantin Ritzmann's hands for a touchdown.

That play, combined with the Harp fumble and a pair of controversial penalties --- one which negated a 69-yard touchdown by Kentucky which would have given the Cats a 28-7 lead before halftime, and another which kept a Vol drive alive via pass interference --- helped Tennessee (8-1, 5-1) stay in the ever-important BCS hunt.

""We really thought we had the game won," said Lorenzen, who threw four touchdown passes and rushed for another score, finishing with 458 total yards on the day. "It was a great game, back and forth all day long. Tennessee played great and adjusted well to come out with the victory though. If they weren't the kind of team that could make adjustments, they wouldn't be ranked so high."

Tennessee rallied behind the right arm of Casey Clausen, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 285 yards and threw three of his four touchdown passes in the second half. Donte Stallworth had three touchdowns on the day, including scores at the 9:32 and 5:26 mark of the fourth quarter to help the Vols tie the game at 28 and take a 35-28 lead.

Kentucky RB Chad Scott (4) was upended by Tennessee SS Rashad Baker near the goal line.

Lorenzen responded with a 62-yard strike to Champ Kelly at the 3:53 mark, but Tennessee drove from its 35 to the UK 27 for Walls' game-winning field goal.

Travis Stephens, SEC's leading rusher at more than 132 yards per game, was held to just 79 yards on 18 carries by the inspired Cats, but had runs of 9 and 14 yards on the decisive drive. He finished the game as the 10th back in UT history to eclipse the 2,000-yard plateau.

Stallworth tied the Vols' single-game record for touchdown receptions for the second straight week with three. He became the first player in school history to accomplish the feat in back-to-back weeks, and finished with eight receptions for 169 yards.

In addition to Lorenzen's big performance, Kentucky got 10 catches and 118 yards from sophomore receiver Derek Abney. It marked his third consecutive 100-yard receiving effort, and gave him 29 receptions during that span.

Lorenzen has thrown for 859 yards and 10 touchdowns with only one interception in his last two starts.

Kentucky returns to action Dec. 1 at Indiana in a game originally scheduled for Sept. 15, but postponed due to the terrorist attacks on America. The Hoosiers (3-6, 3-4 Big Ten) dropped a 28-14 decision on Saturday at Penn State.

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