Tennessee has saw several streaks broken over the years. However, the Vols were determined to extend one on Saturday.
Tennessee rolled to a 24-7 past No. 11 Kentucky for the Vols 17th straight win over UK inside Neyland Stadium dating back to 1984.
With the win, Tennessee improves to 5-5 on the year – just one win away from bowl eligibility with two games remaining.
On Saturday in Neyland Stadium, the Vols exerted control with a balanced attack and a stifling defense.
“We challenged our players this week that we wanted to have the most rushing yards, and I think we did,” head coach Jeremy Pruitt said. “I thought for the first time, we had a little bit of physicality for the entire game. It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely very positive. I know those guys are enjoying that in the locker room. I thought defensively, we kept them from creating explosive plays. We kind of made them one dimensional and it’s a lot easier to guard the pass if you make them one dimensional.”
Jarrett Guarantano was 12-of-20 passing for 197 yards with two touchdowns, while Ty Chandler and Tim Jordan had 89 and 63 yards rushing, respectively, Jordan Murphy added 59 yards rushing on one carry.
Defensively, Darrell Taylor had four sacks to lead the Vol unit.
As a team, Tennessee outgained the Wildcats 412-262 offensively.
The Vols took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter as Brent Cimaglia hit a 19-yard field goal with five minutes remaining in the first quarter. Neither team was able to get back on the board until Jordan scored on a three-yard touchdown run to cap off a six-play drive that covered 81 yards.
The Tennessee defense forced a quick Kentucky possession on the next drive. The Vols took advantage of the final minute of the quarter as Guarantano found Callaway for a 39-yard hailmary as time expired. That gave Tennessee a 17-0 advantage at the half. “First of all, it was a big seven-point momentum swing that I’m sure they weren’t counting on when the drive started – we weren’t either,” Pruitt said. But to me, you have to play the game like there’s no scoreboard, so it’s 0-0. I thought our kids did that. Now, once it gets 24-0 that changes things as far as the time. You don’t really want to change what you’re doing, but you do want to be conscious of the clock and milk it a little bit.”
In the third quarter, Tennessee pushed the lead to 24-0 when Dominick Wood-Anders caught a two-yard pass from Guarantano. The Wildcats got on the board in the closing minutes of the third quarter as Terry Wilson hit C.J. Conrad for a 19-yard touchdown pass.
The teams traded turnovers in the fourth quarter as Tennessee held on for the win.
Tennessee now turns attention to Missouri as the Wildcats will pay a visit to Knoxville next Saturday.