Cat Walk: No. 11 Kentucky’s ready to take on Tennessee in Knoxville
Instant analysis from No. 11 Kentucky’s 24-7 loss to Tennessee:
How the game was won
Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw for two touchdown passes and the Volunteers defense held Kentucky to 68 total yards in the first half as the Volunteers (5-5, 2-4 SEC) opened a 17-0 halftime lead en route to an upset of No. 11 Kentucky (7-3, 5-3 SEC).
1. Tennessee rushing attack. Held to a net 20 yards last week by Charlotte, the Volunteers ran for 215 yards on Kentucky.
2. Tennessee defense. Controlled the game with a whopping nine tackles for loss.
3. Jeremy Pruitt. The first-year UT head coach immediately seized the upper hand on Kentucky.
4. Darius West. The Kentucky senior free safety was suspended for the first half due to a targeting penalty. He still wound up tied for the UK team lead with six tackles.
1. Kentucky running game. For whatever reason, has not been the same since the second half of the South Carolina game.
2. UK offensive line. The whole rationale for how Kentucky was going to play offensively this year was based on the belief the Wildcats’ offensive line could open holes to run on pretty much any defense. For whatever reason, that stopped being the case in the second half of the South Carolina game.
3. Kentucky “Hail Mary” defense. Look, things happen in sports. But giving up a “Hail Mary” touchdown pass on the final play of the first half was inexcusable.
4. UK special teams. Missed a long field goal. Had a short field goal blocked. For the second game in a row, gave up another long punt return that set up the opponent’s first score.
5. Mark Stoops. Since the start of the 2014 season, the UK head coach is a combined 22-8 in the first six games of the regular season. He is now 9-19 in the final six games of the same seasons.
17. Tennessee has now beaten Kentucky 17 consecutive games at Neyland Stadium. UK’s most recent victory in Knoxville remains the 1984 Wildcats’ 17-12 win.
For its final SEC game of 2018, Kentucky wore blue helmets, white jerseys with blue numbers and letters and white pants. It was the first time in the past four seasons UK has worn that uniform combination.
Mark Story: (859) 231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory