Tennessee held a 14-7 advantage heading into the 22nd edition of this all star contest, but Kentucky had won the last three. Early on it looked as if the team from the Volunteer state would end the short winning streak.
A sack and an errant snap into the endzone led to a safety on Kentucky’s first offensive possession. Future Wildcat quarterback (and the state’s Mr. Football) Curtis Pulley would get on track in the next series, throwing a 64-yard bomb for the game’s first touchdown. After a missed extra point, the home team held a 6-2 lead. That’s when orange clad Tennessee squad had an offensive explosion.
Kentucky seized a little momentum heading into the half after a long kickoff return was capped off by a seven-yard TD scramble by back-up QB Brandon Smith to make it 20-13 at intermission.
Coming out of the break, Kentucky narrowed the deficit to one point after scoring the only touchdown of the quarter and missing another point after attempt. That, however, did not slow down the home team. The fourth quarter was even more dominant for the squad from the Bluegrass state. They outscored Tennessee 22-7 in the final stanza to win their fourth straight, 41-27. The lopsided closing to the game made things get testy at the end.
In a contest that had a number of questionable hits (both late and out of bounds) and unsportsmanlike-like conduct penalties, things came to a head when a Tennessee player came around the edge and nailed Smith after the whistle as Kentucky was attempting to run out the clock. Shoving and facemask pulling ensued and both benches cleared. The coaches eventually restored order, but the majority of the Tennessee players retreated to the locker room without shaking hands with their opponents after the horn sounded.
Speaking of contact, Brandon Logan earned the sledgehammer award for the biggest hits on special teams. We had the 6-1 220-pounder down unofficially for four tackles before he left the game early in the third quarter with a strained hamstring. “I just tweaked it,” he said. “I’m going to be okay.”
GoBlueWolverine will have more on the Michigan players in the game in the
coming days, including a number of photos.