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Four Quick Takeaways: Tennessee Handles Kentucky With Ease

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee easily took care of business Saturday, scoring 37 consecutive points on its way to a, 44-6, victory at Neyland Stadium.

The Vols’ defense played on of their best games of the season while a ho hum offensive performance ended with 44 points.

Here’s four quick takeaways on the win.

Tennessee Takes Control In The Second Quarter

With two teams facing off with polar opposite offensive identities, who could control the tempo and take the reigns of the game early was extremely important. While Tennessee scored on the fifth play from scrimmage the Vols’  didn’t truly gain control of the game in the first quarter.

However, Tennessee didn’t take too long to dictate the game’s terms as the Vols’ used a 20-0 second quarter to gain a three-score lead and take control of the game.

While Tennessee’s offense deserves plenty of credit for the strong quarter, the Vols’ defense made the biggest plays.

Kentucky drove the ball into Tennessee’s red zone midway through the second quarter when Doneiko Slaughter and Juwan Mitchell made the play of the game.

Slaughter drilled Kentucky receiver Dane Key as the ball got to him, popping it free and into the arms of Juwan Mitchell who returned it into Wildcats territory.

Hooker had a rare poor drive, taking a first down sack and misfiring on third down. It looked like Tennessee wouldn’t fully capitalize off the turnover but the field position flipped proved crucial.

Paxton Brooks pinned Kentucky at its two-yard line and after picking up one first down the Wildcats punted. Kalib Perry tipped the punt to give Tennessee the ball at the Kentucky 35-yard line.

The Vols needed just 15 of the 37 seconds on the clock as Jalin Hyatt got all alone in the end zone for his second touchdown of the game.

Instead of Kentucky having the opportunity to cut Tennessee’s lead to a touchdown out of the half, the Wildcats trailed by three scores and had to abandon any game plan.

Will Levis’ Disastrous Night

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis is projected to be a top 15 pick in next spring’s NFL Draft. Playing against one of the SEC’s worst pass defenses he looked nothing like it.

Levis looked worse than any other quarterback against Tennessee this season, throwing three interceptions in the blowout loss.

It easily could have been worse for the senior quarterback as both Tamarion McDonald and Jaylen McCollough had interceptions go through their hands.

Levis’ offensive line didn’t do him any favors but poor offensive line play or not, the Kentucky quarterback was terrible.

Levis didn’t eclipse 100 yards passing while completing just 59% of his passes.

More From RTI: Vols Healthy As They’ve Been In A While Against Wildcats

Jalin Hyatt Keeps Adding To The Record Books

Tennessee junior receiver Jalin Hyatt  had a record breaking performance two weeks ago against Alabama. The slot receiver didn’t dominate Kentucky the same way he did the Crimson Tide but he found his way into the record books nonetheless.

Hyatt caught five passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the win. With the two touchdowns Hyatt became Tennessee’s single season receiving touchdown leader.

Now at 14 touchdowns, Hyatt passed Marcus Nash’s 13 receiving touchdowns in 1997 that was previously the program record.

Both of Hyatt’s scores came in the first half when the game was still in jeopardy.

Hyatt did it all with a slightly slow start to the season, scoring just one touchdown in the first two games. The junior has been otherworldly the last three weeks, combining for nine touchdowns.

The numbers would be incredibly impressive in a full season. Instead, Hyatt did it in just eight games with five-seven games still left this season.

A Dominant Beat Down By The Numbers

Tennessee’s win over Kentucky was its most dominant of the season. We’ve already touched on a lot of reasons why the Vols’ performance was so dominant so let’s use the final section to look at the numbers

  • Tennessee out rushed Kentucky, 177-107.
  • Tennessee threw for 147 more yards than the Wildcats.
  • The Vols out gained Kentucky by 217 yards.
  • Kentucky turned it over three times to Tennessee’s zero turnovers.
  • The Vols had two third quarter red zone trips that ended in just three points— a rare point for this team.
  • Five different Tennessee players scored touchdowns.
  • The Vols blocked an extra point and tipped a punt.
  • Tennessee recorded four sacks, its second highest of the season.
  • Kentucky had six yards in the third quarter.
  • Kentucky had 56 total yards in the second half.
  • Jalin Hyatt had 40 more receiving yards than Will Levis had passing yards.

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