Football seeks rare win over Tennessee Volunteers


Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Zy’Aire Hughes (13) diving for a ball. University of Kentucky’s football team lost to University of Tennessee, 24-7, at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Eric Decker

The Kentucky Football team traveled to Knoxville in the midst of a historic season last, only to be upended by a sub .500 Tennessee Volunteers by a score of 24-7. But tonight, the Cats will be looking for only their third win over the Vols in their last 35 meetings.

Quarterback Terry Wilson was held to 172 yards through the air with a touchdown and an interception, being sacked five times in the process. Wide receiver turned quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. totaled six catches for 57 yards in the game.

Kentucky (4-4, 2-4 SEC) is without Wilson this time around due to his season ending injury, instead coming in with a rejuvenated offense with Bowden at the helm. A two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week recipient this season, Bowden rushed for a career high 204 yards against Missouri in the Cats’ most recent contest.

Tennessee (4-5, 2-3 SEC) had a rocky beginning to the season starting off 1-4. They’ve, however, improved their play recently by winning three of their last four. Spearheaded by leading rusher Ty Chandler (63.2 yards-per-game) and the SEC’s 4th leading receiver in total yards Jauan Jennings (722 yards, 80.2 points-per-game) the Volunteers defeated the UAB Blazers 30-7 in their last game.

The Cats’ should look to open their passing game more this week with clear skies forecast for Saturday night after dealing with torrential rain against Mizzou. While the Vols are third in the nation with 13 interceptions, they’re allowing 213 passing yards a game which should allow for wide receivers Ahmad Wagner and Josh Ali to get involved more in the offense. The Kentucky offensive line will also attempt to contain linebacker Darrell Taylor who is tied for the SEC lead in sacks with six.

The trio of Bowden, A.J. Rose, and Kavosiey Smoke will also have a  challenge ahead as they go against a stout Volunteer rush defense. Tennessee currently is holding their opponents to only 138 rushing yards per game.

On the defensive side of the ball, Kentucky will look to mitigate the passing attack of the Vols who, led by quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, average 210 yards a game. The Wildcats only let up 180 yards through the air per game, currently tied with Notre Dame for 14th best in the country in that regard. The front seven will also be tasked with suppressing Chandler and the Tennessee rushing attack who gain nearly 140 yards per game on the ground.

Kentucky will use this matchup not only as a chance for revenge for last season’s calamitous result, but also as an opportunity to push towards bowl eligibility for the fourth straight season. Tonight’s kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. SEC Network will have the broadcast.