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Kentucky vs. Tennessee In-game Updates: Vols Win 50-16

Alex Ellis-1Check in throughout today’s game against Kentucky for pre-game and in-game updates and notes from the RTI crew. Feel free to drop any thoughts or questions in the comments section.



Pre-game notes: 

• Scouts from the Pittsburgh Steelers are in attendance today.

• Reps from the Taxslayer, Liberty and Citrus Bowls are here.

• In what has seemingly become a tradition for Tennessee defenders in recent weeks, the entire defensive team was out on the field in warm-ups without their shirts on.

• Joshua Dobbs was wearing a glove on his non-throwing hand throughout his warmup work.

• Tennessee will be wearing their traditional home uniform – orange jerseys/white pants/white helmet. Kentucky will wear white jerseys and whit helmets with blue pants.

• Running backs Derrell Scott (thumb) and Devrin Young (ribs) are not in uniform. That leaves Jalen Hurd and Marlin Lane as the only scholarship backs available today and Lane is a little hobbled with an ankle issue. Justus Pickett will be the third running back and expect Von Pearson and Pig Howard to be involved in the running game on jet sweeps and reverses.

 1st Quarter (14-3 Vols): Kentucky looked strong out of the gates, taking its first drive 77 yards inside the UT 10. Curt Maggitt picked up a sack to stop the drive and Kentucky had to settle for a field goal. The Vols responded quickly, needing just five plays and under two minutes to march right back down the field for a touchdown. Joshua Dobbs flipped a short pass to Von Pearson, who took it around left end, made a nice juke and went in for the TD and the 7-3 lead for the Vols. Kentucky QB Patrick Towles went to the locker room and was replaced by Reese Phillips. Phillips got crunched by Justin Coleman on the next drive, forcing an errant pass that Brian Randolph intercepted and took back 23 yards to put the Vols up 14-3 with 5:07 left in the quarter. The Vols got another three and out and ended the quarter marching into Kentucky territory and converting a 4th-and-1 by a hair to extend the drive. Great start overall for the Vols. They looked a little rusty out of the gates, but especially when Towles went out, the Vols seemed to take control on defense and have been clicking on offense for the most part. The Vols finished with a nice mix of rushing/passing with 78 yards passing and 59 yards throwing.

2nd Quarter (33-13 Vols) Another strong quarter by Tennessee to swing the momentum of the game firmly in their favor. The Vols got off to a strong start with a touchdown pass to Von Pearson and then rode the legs of Jalen Hurd and Joshua Dobbs to add another 10 before Kentucky finally answered with a touchdown of their own – a 2-yard touchdown run by Patrick Towles with 1:27 left before halftime. The problem for Kentucky was that they left Joshua Dobbs and Tennessee’s offense too much time to put together a final drive of their own.

With 1:27 on the clock Dobbs was able to hit some plays down the field and put the Vols in field goal range. Medley answered the call and hit a 21-yard field goal with :14 remaining in the half. With 14 seconds on the clock, Kentucky, not to be outdone, drove the ball 23 yards in two plays and set up Austin MacGinnis for a 54-yard field goal attempt. MacGinnis’ attempt would split the uprights as time expired.

During the 2nd quarter, freshman defensive end Derek Barnett recorded a sack on Patrick Towles, which drove his season total to 8. That now ties him with Jadaveon Clowney’s sack total for his freshman season. Tennessee’s defense played a near flawless quarter with the exception of Kentucky’s touchdown drive, but the Wildcats found some success by targeting receivers that were matched up against safety Brian Randolph. Tennessee will need to provide Randolph with some help in the second half to keep Kentucky from exploiting the mismatch any further.

At the break:
Dobbs: 13-of-19 for 195 and 2 TDs. 9 rushes for 39 yards.
Hurd: 14 carries for 81 yards.
Pearson: 3 catches for 44 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Barnett: 5 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss and 1 sack.

3rd quarter (50-16 Vols)Talk about a quick strike. Evan Berry had a nice return near midfield and it took Dobbs just one play to capitalize. He threw a quick-hitter to Jason Croom and the massive receiver rumbled 52 yards, showing good wheels in the process, for a score that took all of nine seconds. Kentucky responded with a nice drive of its own, but was stopped in the red zone and forced to settle for a field goal.

Aaron Medley missed a 48-yard field goal, but after yet another UT defensive stop, he got another opportunity and this time converted a 39-yarder. Justin Coleman quickly ended Kentucky’s next drive, grabbing an interception and weaving through defenders down to the 19-yard line to set the Vols up with a short field. Jalen Hurd capped that drive off with a 4-yard TD run that was initially ruled short of the goal line, but replay showed that he did score. Some of the only bad news of the night came when starting center Mack Crowder had to be helped off the field with appeared to be a pretty serious knee injury. The Vols, all in all, took care of business this quarter and put their foot on Kentucky’s throat.

4th Quarter: (50-16 Vols): Lots of running out the clock and boring football in the fourth quarter; but what a night for Tennessee. The Vols were the better team from start to finish in this one and left no doubt that the talent gap between these two schools is still a significant one. Joshua Dobbs would finish the night 19-of-27 for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns, while also adding 58 rushing yards and another touchdown on 10 carries.

Jalen Hurd also had another big night, tallying 24 carries for 119 hard-fought yards and a touchdown.

Tennessee rushed for 214 yards on 51 carries as a team for a 4.2 average, but that number would have been much higher if not for the mundane runs late in the game to run out the clock.

The Vols will now focus their eyes on next week’s game against the Missouri Tigers and the first shot at bowl eligibility. Check back later tonight for more post-game coverage.

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