UK Football

UK-Tennessee notes: Week off gets Locke back on target

Kentucky's open date could not have come at a better time for Derrick Locke, UK's senior running back who is still trying to get back to full speed after missing four games with a shoulder injury.

Locke returned to the field two weeks ago against Vanderbilt and ran 22 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including an 83-yarder. But he clearly wasn't himself. Locke was caught from behind on the long touchdown run before breaking a tackle and getting into the end zone. Locke used the open date to freshen up and work on his conditioning, and it seems to have paid off.

"He's looked like the old Derrick; he has all week," UK Coach Joker Phillips said.

Locke said he's about 90 percent but feels much better than he did going into the Vandy game.

"(The open date) allowed me to get a lot more strength in my arm, I feel comfortable with the ball in my right hand, and I feel comfortable taking a hit with it in my right hand," Locke said. "I also can use my stiff arm again, which is good for me."

Locke isn't backing off his pre-season goal of 1,000 rushing yards this season. He has 719 yards with one regular-season and one bowl game remaining, and he would need to average a little more than 140 yards to reach his goal.

"I told you before the season I'm not going to have any excuses about missing games or anything," Locke said. "If I don't get (1,000 yards), it'll be because I didn't make enough plays to get it. But I'm trying to get it."

The meaning of 517

During Joker Phillips' Monday news conference, he and the UK players were asked about the number 517 that appears at the exit to the Nutter Training Facility.

Both Phillips and the players remained coy about 517, saying it has served as motivation all year in building up to the Tennessee game and that they were keeping it in house. The number represents the total margin of victory for Tennessee during its 25-game winning streak against Kentucky.

Here's a rundown of the Volunteers' 25 straight wins:

Year Site Score Margin

1985 UK 42-0 42

1986 UT 28-9 19

1987 UK 24-22 2

1988 UT 28-24 4

1989 UK 31-10 21

1990 UT 42-28 14

1991 UK 16-7 9

1992 UT 34-13 21

1993 UK 48-0 48

1994 UT 52-0 52

1995 UK 34-31 3

1996 UT 56-10 46

1997 UK 59-31 28

1998 UT 59-21 38

1999 UK 56-21 35

2000 UT 59-20 39

2001 UK 38-35 3

2002 UT 24-0 24

2003 UK 20-7 13

2004 UT 37-31 6

2005 UK 27-8 19

2006 UT 17-12 5

2007 UK 52-50 2

2008 UT 28-10 18

2009 UK 30-24 6

Fugate making his mark

Breathitt County graduate Channing Fugate has started three games at fullback for Tennessee this season and made his first career start at South Carolina.

The 6-foot-2, 244-pound freshman is mainly a blocker — he doesn't have a carry and has caught one pass for 4 yards. "I expected him to be our fullback at some point," Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley said. "I knew he was going to be a good, solid fullback, but you never know how they're going to respond when you throw them out there. He responded like we hoped."