UK drops another winnable game at Tennessee

UK for the 3rd time this season has lost a game, they should have won - Photo by Brendon Miller
UK for the 3rd time this season has lost a game, they should have won – Photo by Brendon Miller

36 points, 635 yards in total offense to 599, 443 yards rushing compared to 376, 5 running backs over 70 yards each compared to 3 over 90, 29 first downs for both teams and 84 total plays compared to 59, and finally time of possession 35:21 compared to 24:39. All of these totals belong to the losing team. Yes, the Kentucky Wildcats put up all these numbers and LOST!!! Tennessee scored 14 in the 1st, 7 in the 2nd, 14 in the 3rd and 4th. Tennessee had 29 1st downs on just 59 plays. Literally a first down every 2 plays. UK QB Stephen Johnson struggled mightily going 12-29 for 192 yards and 1 interception. UK had 2 turnovers compared to Tennessee’s 3 and still lost. The Wildcats had the advantage in nearly every category in the stat sheet and still lost. For the 2nd game in a row, Kentucky let a very winnable game slip through their fingers and for the first time in a while their defense simply could not stop Tennessee from scoring.

UK started off the game going up 7-0 with a Williams 10 yard touchdown run in the 1st period. Tennessee answered with a 24 yard touchdown pass to even the score 7-7. UK would go back up 10-7 on a FG before Tennessee would roar back to take a 14-10 lead on a 1 yard rushing touchdown.

UK would close the gap early in the 2nd QTR with another FG making it 13-14 UT. The Volunteers would then add another score with a 10 yard TD pass to Wolf to make the score 21-13 Tennessee.

The scoring continued in the 3rd with UK starting with another FG to cut the lead to 21-16. That is the closest UK would get as Tennessee would score on a 51 TD pass to Malone to make it 28-16 Tennessee. UT would then score again after Benny Snell fumbled on the Tennessee 4 yard line. UT would drive 96 yards capped off with a 17 yard Kamara rushing TD for a 35-16 lead.

The 4th quarter had it’s share of fireworks as well. UK’s JoJo Kemp scampered 71 yards for a score and made it 35-22 after Snell again fumbled, this time on the 2 point conversion.  Tennessee answered right back with a 45 yard Dobbs TD run on a 2 play drive making it 42-22. Tennessee would strike again after Kamara ran 29 yards for another score making it 49-22. Sihiem King would get Kentucky on the board again with a 24 yard score making it 49-29. The Wildcats would strike yet again with a Johnson 2 yard plunge to make it 49-36. That would be the end of the scoring.

UK had every chance to win this game if you simply looked at the stats, but this is why you play the games. UK has had 3 games they have given away and could very easily be 8-2 instead of 5-5, but in what seems to be an all to familiar pattern, they simply cannot get over the top and win the games they should. It is what separates them from the upper echelon of good teams and the 6 win and under teams.

KENTUCKY POSTGAME NOTES – Kentucky at Tennessee – Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn. – Nov. 12, 2016  FINAL SCORE: Tennessee 49, Kentucky 36

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is 5-5 overall, 4-4 in the Southeastern Conference. Tennessee is 7-3 overall, 3-3 in league play.
  • Kentucky finishes 4-4 in the SEC Eastern Division. UK will finish no worse than third place in the division standings.
    • Since the SEC split into divisions in 1992, UK’s highest finishes have been third place in 1993 and tied for third in 2006, both times with 4-4 records.
  • Tennessee leads the series, 79-24-9.
  • UK will return to action Sat. Nov. 19 at 4:30 p.m. when the Wildcats have their Senior Day game vs. Austin Peay. It will be televised on the SEC Network.

Kentucky Team Notes

  • UK’s game captains were senior center Jon Toth, junior wide receiver Jeff Badet, junior linebacker Courtney Love and senior defensive lineman Courtney Miggins.
    • This was the eighth time this season that Kentucky has used those four players for captains. UK is 5-2 with Toth, Badet, Love and Miggins as captains.
  • Kentucky amassed 635 yards total offense, seventh-most in a single game in school history.
  • Kentucky rushed for 443 yards, second-most in a single game in school history.  The school record is 446 rushing yards vs. Tennessee Tech in 1951.
  • Kentucky’s 443 rushing yards is the most ever for the Wildcats against an SEC opponent.  The previous record was 409 rushing yards vs. Vanderbilt in 1953.
  • This was the first time in school history that five Wildcats have rushed for at least 70 yards in the same game.

Kentucky Player Notes

  • Junior quarterback Stephen Johnson accounted for 264 yards total offense.
    • He completed 12 of 29 passes for 192 yards.
    • He also had a career-best 72 net rushing yards on 10 attempts.
    • UK’s first offensive play was a career-long 75-yard run by Johnson, setting up Boom Williams’ 10-yard TD run on the next play.
  • Junior running back Stanley “Boom” Williams rushed 16 times for 127 yards and one touchdown.
    • Williams has 1,025 yards this season, becoming the seventh player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
    • It is the ninth time a Wildcat has achieved the feat as Sonny Collins and Rafael Little got 1,000 yards in two seasons each.
    • He is the fourth Wildcat to have a 1,000-yard season prior to his senior season, also Collins, Little and Moe Williams.
    • It is his fourth 100-yard game of the season and 11th of his career.  His 11 100-yard games is tied with Artose Pinner for fourth place in UK history.
    • Williams now has 2,366 career rushing yards, seventh in school history.
  • Senior running back Jojo Kemp rushed eight times for 90 yards, including a career-long 71-yard TD run.
    • Kemp now has 1,595 rushing yards as a Wildcat, advancing to 17th place on the UK career list.
  • True freshman running back Benny Snell had 15 carries for 83 yards.
    • He has 854 rushing yards this season, second-most by a freshman in school history.
  • Williams and Snell have combined for 1,879 rushing yards this season, tying the record for the most by a duo in one season in school history.  Sonny Collins and Mike Fanuzzi also combined for 1,879 rushing yards in 1974.
  • Williams and Snell each have four 100-yard rushing games this season. This is the first time in school history that two UK players have at least four 100-yard rushing games in the same season.
  • Junior kicker Austin MacGinnis had 12 points today. He has 235 career points and moved past Randall Cobb, Taylor Begley and Seth Hanson for third place on the UK career list.
    • MacGinnis’ 235 points is the most points ever for a Wildcat prior to his senior season.
  • Sophomore cornerback Derrick Baity had an interception late in the second quarter. It is his team-leading third pickoff of the season.
  • Sophomore safety Mike Edwards had 12 tackles, his fourth double-digit tackle total of the season.
  • Sophomore defensive end/linebacker Denzil Ware had 2.5 tackles for loss today, equaling his previous single-game high set earlier this season in the win over Vanderbilt.
  • Senior center Jon Toth made his 45th consecutive start.