UK seniors hope to stop losing streak to Vols

UK has lost 26 in a row to Vols

jsmith3@herald-leader.comNovember 26, 2011 

The seniors that will be honored before the game on Saturday have had their share of highlights.

They helped lead Kentucky to three bowl games.

They beat Louisville three times.

They won games at Auburn and at Georgia.

They ended a long-running UK losing streak to Coach Steve Spurrier.

As the last game of their Kentucky careers looms on Saturday, the seniors all said there's one more thing they'd like to accomplish in a Kentucky uniform.

"To be the class that ends the streak," Anthony Mosley said this week.

The streak of 26 straight losses to Tennessee.

"It would mean a lot that we'd be the class to do it," senior wide receiver Matt Roark said. "We want to be that team."

A win over the Volunteers (5-6, 1-6 Southeastern Conference) on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium might not stop the pain of not making it to a bowl game, but it would definitely take out the sting.

"It would be a huge win for the seniors, being senior day," Mosley said. "It wouldn't necessarily wash away all the disappointment (of the season) but it definitely would lessen the blow to have our last game be a win."

When asked for his career highlight at Kentucky (4-7, 1-6), senior linebacker Ronnie Sneed didn't hesitate.

He talked about beating South Carolina last season and halting the streak of losses to Spurrier.

But snapping the streak — this specific streak — would change his order.

"It would definitely be the new highlight," Sneed said. "We'd be ending a streak and starting a new one. It's definitely (a win) that will put this program in the right direction."

After the loss at Georgia last week ended UK's hopes of a sixth straight bowl game, the Cats' underclassmen talked about winning this final game for the 19 seniors.

The coaches talked about it in the locker room after the loss at Athens.

"They told them to play for us because we've done so much for the program," senior cornerback Randall Burden said after the game. "We're playing for pride and to beat Tennessee."

It made Roark work harder this week in practice, he said.

"It makes me feel motivated because I know everyone on the team is working for our class and we just want to be here to work for their class," he said. "We want to play for them like they want to play for us."

It's a long-standing tradition that the seniors on the Kentucky team get their "last tackle" at their last practice.

Members of the senior classes the past few years have gotten that tackle at their respective bowl site. This class had to settle for the practice fields at UK.

But getting a win over at Commonwealth Stadium over the Volunteers would make this ending nearly as sweet as any bowl game.

"I think we can beat them," Sneed said confidently on Monday.

His coach hopes so.

"You can't go talk about it; you've just got to go do it," Coach Joker Phillips told his team this week. Phillips was on the last UK team that beat Tennessee in 1984.

"I'm tired of seeing highlights of when I played," he said. "I am. I'm sick of it. I'd like this to be the class to do it."

Kentucky farewell

Kentucky will honor 19 seniors and two juniors (who are giving up their final year of eligibility) at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday. Here is the list:

x-juniors who are forgoing their senior seasons

Mychal Bailey

Nik Brazley

Chandler Burden

Randall Burden

Mark Crawford

Antwane Glenn

Winston Guy

Stuart Hines

x-Jake Lewellen

Jake Lanefski

Luke McDermott

Nick Melillo

Anthony Mosley

Billy Joe Murphy

Matt Roark

x-Pat Simmons

Taiedo Smith

Ronnie Sneed

Jon Thomas

Danny Trevathan

Ryan Tydlacka

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