FINAL: Tennessee 52 Kentucky 21

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    Pre-game notes: 

    • A scout from the Carolina Panthers is in attendance at Commonwealth Stadium. Reps from the Citrus and Liberty Bowl are in attendance as well.

    • It’s windy in Commonwealth Stadium and the kickers were struggling a bit in warm-ups. With Aaron Medley already struggling, that could lead to interesting decisions for the Vols when in field-goal range tonight.

    • It doesn’t look like Preston Williams (hamstring) is going through warm-ups. Marquez North was running very gingerly when going through routes.

    • Offensive lineman Jashon Robertson is going through warm-ups after missing the Alabama game. He was working as a starting guard, along with Kyler Kerbyson, Coleman Thomas, Dylan Wiesman and Chance Hall on the first team getting reps.

    • The starting receivers in warm-ups were Josh Smith, Josh Malone and Von Pearson.

    First Quarter (Tied 7-7):

    Tennessee dominated much of the first quarter, even if it didn’t show up on the scoreboard. The Vols, after converting a fourth-and-8 on their first drive looked to be in prime position to strike first. But Kentucky got around UT’s left side of the offensive line, which is playing without Jashon Robertson (who went out on the first drive with an injury), stripped Joshua Dobbs and defensive lineman C.J. Johnson scooped it up and raced over 70 yards to put the Vols on the board.

    After the teams exchanged three-and-outs, Tennessee then was able to capitalize after controlling the ball for much of the first quarter. An 11-yard pass from Dobbs to Jauan Jennings set up a nice 28-yard touchdown run by Dobbs to tie it up.

    Tennessee continues to dominate on the defensive side of the ball – holding Kentucky to just two total yards on offense in that entire quarter. Tennessee got the ball back with a couple minutes before the end of the quarter and was able to move the ball to midfield. The big early turnover prevented the Vols from building a lead, but UT has to feel good about how they controlled that first quarter, taking a 144-2 edge in total yardage heading into the second quarter.

    Second quarter: (Vols lead 24-14 at halftime.)

    The good of the second quarter if you’re a Tennessee fan is that Aaron Medley connected on a 44-yard field goal attempt in a swirling wind to give the Vols an early 10-7 lead. The bad is that Kentucky’s defense may have finally figured out how to consistently move the ball against John Jancek’s defense. Kentucky came into the 2nd quarter with only 2 yards of total offense, but started the quarter with a 75-yard drive and an offensive touchdown on a fourth-down quarterback keeper by Patrick Towles.

    Tennessee’s defense appeared to have Kentucky’s number in the first quarter, but credit the Cats for figuring some things out on their touchdown drive. It didn’t come without a price, however, as Kentucky running back Boom Williams appeared to suffer a serious elbow injury on the scoring drive. His return is questionable.

    Tennessee immediately answered Kentucky’s scoring drive with this beauty of a deep ball from Josh (Dobbs) to Josh (Malone).

    Kentucky tried to answer with a scoring drive of their own, but this sack by Derek Barnett forced a Kentucky punt with 2:43 on the clock until halftime.

    Tennessee got the ball back and did this…

    And then this…

    Kentucky’s Hail Mary attempt at the horn fell incomplete, and Tennessee leads at the half 24-14.

    Halftime stats:

    Third Quarter: (Vols lead 52-21)

    This was a highlight-riddled quarter for Tennessee. The Vols started fast with a nice opening drive that concluded with a Jalen Hurd touchdown catch from Joshua Dobbs. That play wouldn’t have happened, however, without this nifty run by Joshua Dobbs on 3rd down to move the sticks and keep the drive alive.

    Jalen Hurd with some NIFTY footwork on this catch and run, but credit Coleman Thomas with one of the finest blocks of his career.

    Then things got interesting…

    Darrin Kirkland Jr. played this screen pass like an All-Pro and recorded his first career interception.

    …and Jalen Hurd finished the deal with this touchdown run.

    Kentucky fired back with a quick touchdown of their own, but the Vols answered on the ensuing kickoff when Evan Berry did Evan Berry things.

    The Vols would then force a punt and Cam Sutton took it to the house for Tennessee’s fourth touchdown of the quarter.

    Stats through the third quarter:

    After a wild three quarters, the 4th quarter didn’t see much action as both teams appeared set to call it a game. A Kentucky drive midway through the quarter was stopped after this fumble.

    Dormady entered the game with 6:51 to play. Backup running back John Kelly rattled off a couple of nice runs, including this long gain.

    FINAL: Tennessee 52 Kentucky 21