By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky ran for 443 yards — and averaged just over 8.0 yards per carry — at Tennessee Saturday but still lost 49-36 at Tennessee because the Volunteers turned red zone chances into touchdowns while Kentucky had to settle for three field goals in the red zone and lost a fumble inside the 5-yard line.
Tennessee has averaged 50 points per game in wins over UK during coach Mark Stoops’ four years at UK and rolled up 599 yards — including 223 passing and 147 rushing by Joshua Dobbs. It seemed that time after time the Vols just gashed UK’s defense.
The Wildcats lost leading tackler Jordan Jones to a back injury and linebackers Josh Allen and Denzil Ware both missed time with injuries as did cornerbacks Derrick Baity and Chris Westry. Leading receiver Jeff Badet also went out with an injury.
Kentucky, which last won in Knoxville in 1984, just did not have the depth to overcome that on defense and that why’s UK became the first FBS team this season to lose when it had 400 or more yards rushing.
Kentucky was still in the game trailing 28-16 midway of the third quarter when Benny Snell fumbled at the 4-yard line. Tennessee responded with a 96-yard scoring drive that broke the game open.
Boom Williams finished with 127 yards on 16 carries and went over the 1,000-yard mark. JoJo Kemp played for the first time since breaking his hand and had 90 yards on eight carries, including a 71-yard scoring run. Snell had 15 carries for 79 yards and remains on pace for 1,000 yards. Sihiem King got a chance to play late and had a terrific 24-yard scoring run and 75 yards on six carries. Quarterback Stephen Johnson, who had a 75-yard run on UK’s first play, finished with 72 yards rushing.
Johnson was 12–for-29 for 192 yards. He missed several throws but also had passes, including two on third down throws, dropped.
“I was very proud of our offensive effort running the football, but it comes down to them getting explosive runs and getting in the end zone. Dobbs is extremely good player and put stress on us all day,” Stoops told Tom Leach on the UK Radio Network after the game. “There are routine players that we have to make. We know Tennessee is talented, big, skilled and hard to tackle. But we can’t give up explosive plays.
“These guys put enormous stress on you to make one on one tackles and we obviously did not do that very well. They keep you off balance and put you under a lot of stress. But any time you have 635 yards of offense, I can’t complain about the offense.”
Stoops did say that no one seemed seriously injured. Instead he said his team was merely “banged up” after Saturday’s game.