UK runs over Vols but still loses 49-36 to Tennessee

Boom Williams went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Boom Williams went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

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.

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  1. IMO Stoops and Gran have both earned positions on the Hot Seat. I realize Stoops doesn’t tackle, put pressure on QB, have outside contain, and allow 5-7 yds/ to UT on first down possessions, but all of this still happens on his watch, and he continues to meltdown at end of the year. Gran’s play calling in the red zone and at other times during the game have been dismal. Why did he go to passing game on 2nd and 3rd series opening the game and think it was going to work? UT had the quarterback and we didn’t. Our tackling has been bad for the 4 years he has been here. I don’t really feel that he will ever beat UT for the rest of his time. We have no pass rush, DL stoppage, or an ability to show we have ever learned anything about pass coverage.Again, duped by Stoops.

  2. test

    1. You got a C. Thought the plot was a bit thin and character development was nonexistent.

      1. I had just posted a comment and It never made through the e-universe..

  3. Eddie Gran reminds me more and more like Woody Hays. Pig headed and no imagination. TN was boxing 8 on every play to stop the run up the center. We gained a lot of yards, but didn’t score enough. We didn’t keep the TN defense honest. Eliot, well what can you say. We looked unprepared – again, and a step or two slow. Who ever is in charge of teaching fundamentals like tackling and maintaining your position should be off the hot seat in another profession. I don’t think these kids like losing and they deserve better.

    1. RJ..you are correct sir…Our problem is not the players, it is the coaching staff. WTH does Eliot do during the week except cash a paycheck? The only thing we have is a very good OL and good stable of running backs. Stoops has been here 4 yrs. and the tackling has never improved.

  4. GO CATS !!!!!!

  5. Mike and RJ. Mean no disrespect but I fail to understand why you are dumping on Gran for a performance that generated 650 yards of offense with over 440 yards on the ground and no turnovers (the hail Mary interception is a non-factor in this discussion).And against Tennessee no less… a team that will mist likely be the SEC East champs.
    Gentlemen, there is a point in this rebuilding process when the culture of the fanbase needs to change. We are at that point. The offense wasn’t perfect, but was mighty impressive. The defense left something to be desired but let’s remember that second quarter injuries to Jones, Westry and Baity played a large role in our mid-game defensive struggles. If you were watching, Tennessee did a great job exploiting that.

    This is a good football team. They showed more growth and fantastic effort. I, for one, am proud of them. GO CATS !!!!!!

    1. Oops… forgot Snell”s effort generated turnover at their 4. And while that one hurt us, I am comfortable it is a mistake this talented 18 year old freshman won’t be making very often.

      Still standing by my earlier remarks.

      1. Agree with everything you said above. This team ran all over TN. We just need more consistency at QB. Our passing game has to improve. Our ground game is really good. Recievers can’t get in a groove and timing is off when the QB is not very accurate. Next season with added redshirts and personnel we should be a competitive team and hopefully be able to win games like this.

      2. We got beat, handily I might add. I’m sure you have heard of the old adage, win the battle but lose the war? You can run up and down the field all you want , but trying to punch in from the 5 yard line with 8 and 10 big linemen in the box is not going to get you many points – except for field goals. Benny Snell is a gifted runner and will be playing on Sundays someday but when everyone in the stadium knows what the play will be when he is in the game, the result is what we got.

  6. The 2 most insightful comments from coaching staff…Stoops – “we must give UT credit” and Gran – “gotta finish”…Brilliant!

  7. UK lost this game for several reasons, one being they couldn’t score TD’s in the red zone, with a huge TO in the red zone as well. They had no effective defense giving up way to many big plays, and three, UK couldn’t stop Dobbs, and UT was a beat up football team going in. That said, UT always finds a way to beat UK in football. When will that ever stop? I am not sure it will with Stoops at the helm. His teams just do not rise to the occasion in big games, and that has been clearly evident now for 4 years. I am not convinced it will be any different next year. The talent level, everyone says, has been improved under Stoops, but that talent has not produced wins against the best in the SEC. That is a reflection on the coaching staff IMO. UK had a golden opportunity against UGA, they blew it. They had a golden opportunity against UT, and ran for a lot of yards, but still lost. Football at UK is one heartache after another. It hard to watch.

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