Mark Story

Tennessee produces more agony for Kentucky in game Cats coulda, shoulda won

More from the series

Game day: Kentucky vs. Tennessee

Click below for more of’s coverage of Saturday’s Kentucky-Tennessee football game at Kroger Field in Lexington.

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Instant analysis from Kentucky’s 17-13 loss to Tennessee:

How the game was won

Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano came off the bench in the second half to throw two touchdown passes and UT stopped Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden on fourth-and-goal from the 2 with 1:17 left in the game to pin another gut-wrenching loss on the Wildcats.

Who’s hot

1. Jarrett Guarantano. The UT QB who lost the starting job this year saved the Volunteers’ bacon Saturday night.

2. Marquez Calloway. The Tennessee wideout who caught the Hail Mary TD against UK a season ago at the end of the first half tormented the Cats again to the tune of four catches for 103 yards and a TD.

3. Daniel Bituli. The Tennessee middle linebacker had 19.5 tackles including a share of the stop on Lynn Bowden on fourth-and-goal from the 2 that decided the game.

4. Derrick Ansley. In the second half, the Tennessee defensive coordinator and ex-UK assistant came up with a plan that made someone other than Lynn Bowden beat the Vols.

UK didn’t have that person.

5. Tennessee football. Let’s be honest: The Vols just have UK’s number.

Who’s not

1. Kentucky passing game. UK is playing a wideout at QB, but when Tennessee totally sold out in the second half to stop Lynn Bowden’s running, the Cats had no counter through the air.

The first-half interception when Justin Rigg had his man beaten and the bad throw on a fourth-quarter, fourth-and-3 from the UT 38 against 1-on-1 coverage likely cost UK two TDs.

2. UK fourth-down offense. The Cats were stopped on their last three possessions in Tennessee territory on fourth down.

3. Kentucky secondary. Didn’t have many answers for very good UT wide receivers.

4. The Big Blue Nation. Seems destined to live with eternal torment in football games against Tennessee.

Key number(s)

27 and 3. Since 1960, Tennessee is now 27-3 against Kentucky in football games played in Lexington.

Fashion police

For the ninth game of the 2019 season, Kentucky wore silver chrome helmets, anthracite jerseys with white numbers and letters and blue pants. Since the start of the 2016 season, UK is now 5-4 when wearing anthracite jerseys.

Fans in the stands

The border battle between Kentucky and Tennessee drew a crowd of 56,760 to Kroger Field.

The ‘Cat-mosphere’

1. Ex-Cats turned NFL starters Josh Allen (Jaguars) and Lonnie Johnson (Texans) — key players for last season’s 10-3 Wildcats — returned to Kroger Field on Saturday night.

2. Bo Garrett from Montgomery Gentry performed a guitar-only version of the national anthem that was an interesting departure from the conventional.

3. Former UK linebacker Marty Moore, star of the Wildcats’ 1993 Peach Bowl team, banged the “Go Big Blue drum.”

4. There were a lot of fans wearing Tennessee orange spread around the Kroger Field bleachers.

5. In a throwback to the past, former Kentucky safety Marcus McClinton was back on the microphone in between the third and fourth quarters trying to rally the Kroger Field crowd.

Mark Story has worked in the Lexington Herald-Leader sports department since Aug. 27, 1990, and has been a Herald-Leader sports columnist since 2001. I have covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every UK-U of L basketball game but three since 1996-97 and every Kentucky Derby since 1994.