KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee beat Kentucky at Neyland Stadium for the 15th consecutive time on Saturday as the Vols downed the Wildcats, 50-16. Overall, the Vols have now won 29 of the last 30 meetings with Kentucky, dating to 1985.
With its second win a row, Tennessee (5-5, 2-4 SEC) is now one win from being bowl eligible for the first time since 2010. Kentucky (5-6, 2-6 SEC) has lost five games in a row.
Tennessee posted its first 50-point game in SEC action since a 52-14 blowout of Ole Miss on Nov. 13, 2010. The win by 34 points vs. Kentucky is also the largest margin of victory since that game (38).
The win by 34 points was the largest in the series with the Wildcats since a 59-20 victory in 2000 (39).
The Vols 95 points are the most in consecutive SEC games since piling up 107 vs. Mississippi State and Vanderbilt in 2003.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs has his second consecutive monster game. On the heels of 467 total yards in his first start at South Carolina, Dobbs piled up 345 total yards vs. Kentucky. Dobbs accounted for four touchdowns (three passing and one rushing) after posting five vs. the Gamecocks. In three games in 2014, Dobbs has accounted for 1,079 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Junior Von Pearson scored two receiving touchdowns and finished the day with three catches for 44 yards. Jason Croomhad a career-high 87 receiving yards on three catches and a career-long 52-yard touchdown reception. Pig Howard had four catches for 43 yards.
Freshman Jalen Hurd continued his surge as he ran for 118 yards, his third game with 100-plus rushing yards this season.Hurd’s three 100-yard games are the most by a true freshman since Jamal Lewis had seven in 1997.
Defensively, the Vols had a standout performance from freshman Derek Barnett, who had 4.0 TFLs including 2.0 sacks as part of seven tackles. Barnett continues to add to his Tennessee freshman record for both sacks (9.0) and TFLs (18.0). With 18.0 TFLs, he has the seventh most in a season in Vol history. Senior Curt Maggitt had two sacks. Brian Randolphled the defense with eight tackles and had an interception return for a score. Overall, the Vols had five sacks and nine tackles for loss.
After posting their most points (33) against an SEC opponent in a first half in 11 years, the Vols continued to pour it on in the second half. After a 39-yard kickoff return by Evan Berry to open the half, Dobbs hooked up with Croom on the Vols’ first play from scrimmage in the second half. That put Tennessee ahead, 40-13, 16 seconds into the second half.
Aaron Medley’s third field goal of the game from 39 yards, put the Vols up 43-16 late in the third quarter. Hurd rumbled in from four yards with 20 seconds left in the third quarter to push the Vols to the half-century mark, 50-16.
Tennessee led 33-13 at halftime. It was the most points the Vols scored in a first half since leading Austin Peay, 42-0, in last season’s opener and most vs. an SEC foe since 41-0 halftime lead vs. Vanderbilt on Nov. 11, 2003.
Pearson scored his second of the day on a great effort to force his way into the end zone on a 16-yard reception from Dobbs with 13:21 left in the second quarter. Medley missed the extra point as the Vols led 20-3. Medley redeemed himself with a 38-yard field goal five minutes later. The lead ballooned to 30-3 as Dobbs ran in from nine yards with 4:09 left in the half.
Pearson took a short pitch from Dobbs and dashed 21 yards to put the Vols ahead, 7-3 with 9:11 left in the first quarter. Tennessee took a 14-3 lead on a 23-yard interception return for touchdown by Randolph with 5:07 left in the first quarter. It was the Vols’ first defensive touchdown of the season.
Kentucky’s starting quarterback Patrick Towles was sidelined on the Cats’ second series and missed two series. He was replaced by Reese Phillips, who had thrown just five passes all season. Towles returned and finished the game with 168 passing yards on 13-of-25. Javess Blue had six catches for 131 yards for the Cats.
The Vols host Senior Day 2014 next Saturday at 7:30 p.m., as Missouri comes to Neyland Stadium. That game will air on either ESPN or SEC Network (will be announced last today) and can be heard on the Vol Network.