Mark Story

Blue Review: Instant analysis from Kentucky’s win over Tennessee

Instant analysis from Kentucky’s 29-26 win over Tennessee:

How the game was won

Stephen Johnson drove Kentucky 72 yards in 10 plays and scored the game-winning touchdown on an 11-yard run with 33 seconds left as the Wildcats overcame four lost fumbles to beat Tennessee for the second time since 1984.

Game balls

1. Stephen Johnson. On a night when he threw the ball poorly, Johnson nevertheless rallied the Wildcats to a rare victory over Tennessee.

2. Benny Snell. One week after the worst game of his UK career, the Kentucky running back ran for 180 yards and three touchdowns.

3. Tavin Richardson. The toe-tap that the Kentucky wide receiver executed to keep the game-winning drive alive will live in UK football lore.

4. Kentucky defense. Kept UT out of the end zone after all four Kentucky lost fumbles — three of which were lost in Wildcats territory — thanks largely to seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

5. Mark Stoops. It wasn’t pretty but the Kentucky coach got UK fans a win against a team the BBN really wants to beat.

Running gassers

1. Butch Jones. If he was coaching for his job, well …

2. Tennessee offense. Played much better than it had been, but failed to convert any of UK’s four lost fumbles into touchdowns.

3. UK ball security. Amazing the Cats got away with four lost fumbles.

Key number(s)

2-5. After losing 26 games in a row against Tennessee from 1984 through 2010, UK has now won two of the last seven, having also beaten the Volunteers 10-7 in 2011.

Fashion police

For its eighth game of 2017, Kentucky wore silver chrome helmets, blue jerseys with white numbers and letters and blue pants. With the win, UK is 2-5 when wearing silver chrome helmets since the start of the 2015 season.

Up next

Kentucky (6-2, 3-2 SEC) will face Mississippi (3-5, 1-4 SEC) Saturday, Nov. 4, at 4 p.m. at Kroger Field in a game that will be telecast by the SEC Network. The Rebels blew a 31-7 lead and lost to Arkansas 38-37 Saturday.

Know your foe

1. After the fall of Hugh Freeze, offensive line coach Matt Luke was named Mississippi interim head coach July 20. A former Rebels center (1995-98), Luke’s family has deep Ole Miss ties. His father, Tommy, was a Rebels defensive back in the 1960s. Matt Luke’s brother, Tom, was Ole Miss quarterback (1989-91).

2. Mississippi quarterback Shae Patterson is leading the SEC in passing (2,259 yards, 322.7 yards a game) but is out for the season after tearing the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the Rebels’ 40-24 loss to LSU last week. Junior-college transfer Jordan Ta’amu, a Hawaii native started against Arkansas. Ta’amu completed 20 of 30 passes for 368 yards with one interception against the Razorbacks and ran for 76 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.

3. Kentucky has beaten Mississippi the past two times the teams have played in Lexington. On Sept. 16, 2006, Andre Woodson quarterbacked the Cats past the Rebels 31-14. Maxwell Smith made his first career UK start at QB against Ole Miss on Nov. 5, 2011, and led Kentucky to a 30-13 victory.

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