Tennessee continues its dominance over Kentucky



By Joshua Huff

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On the day that the world witnessed the storied American Pharaoh gallop triumphantly into the annals of history, the city of Lexington witnessed its own triumph as the University of Kentucky stuck to its guns and continued a long, storied history of losing to Tennessee, 52-21.

On a chilly, blustery Halloween night, the black-clad Cats did not disappoint.

Faced with the prospect of recording a rare win in one of the nation’s most lopsided “rivalries,” UK did what over 80 years of tradition dictated: losing to Tennessee. And boy, did the Cats follow that letter to the tee. The defeat was UK’s 30th loss to the Volunteers in 31 games. Since 1932, Tennessee is 78-24-9 against UK.

In the onset of the game, UK welcomed the spirit of Halloween night, scaring fans throughout the first half as it kept Tennessee within striking distance. At one point, the Cats even took two leads, 7-0 and 14-10, but they quickly realized the error of their ways. Tennessee scored four-straight touchdowns to realign the stars and proceeded to go on a 42-7 run just to be sure.

And with over 200 recruits in town to witness the defeat, UK did its best to impress the young footballers with a blend of dropped passes, poor offensive line play, terrible tackling and even worse run defense. The Cats can only hope that these youngsters embrace a history of mediocrity because UK takes the term “a work in progress” to another level.

A game removed from being thumped by Mississippi State, the assumption that UK would respond positively on a night that concluded a weekend of festivities would be logical. That assumption, however, would be wrong.

It’s easy to toss around statistics to sum up UK’s foolhardy attempt at defeating Tennessee. The best descriptor, however, lies not in numbers, but in words: UK played worse than a Philadelphia Eagles Sam Bradford-led offense.

If that imagery doesn’t hold any weight for you then picture this: UK had two total yards of offense after the first quarter. Tennessee’s quarterback Joshua Dobbs, had more rushing attempts in the quarter (4) than Patrick Towles had passing yards (3).

The offense was so inefficient that the Cleveland Browns would hesitate starting Towles.

The issue for UK now is moving past the “what” and towards the “what now.” The Cats next face a Georgia team that was embarrassed by Florida on Saturday. To add to UK’s woes: Towles’ confidence appears shattered, the offensive line is in shambles, the wide outs drop more passes than Charlie Brown misses kicks and the defense is awful.

So, what now?

It’s safe to say that Towles’ time as starter is entering its twilight. If UK, however, truly wants that bowl game, Towles gives UK its best chance at achieving it. Should Stoops replace him with either Drew Barker or Reese Phillips, Stoops will be tossing a red-cheeked quarterback in behind an offensive line that is bad as there is in the Southeastern Conference.

It’s a lose, lose situation.

The only thing Stoops can do is weather the storm. The calls for his head will begin and the warmth of Miami will become more enticing. With Boom Williams out with an elbow injury, a defense that is sorely missing its rock, Melvin Lewis, the problems will continue to add up.

As UK’s SEC slate continues the losses will probably pile up. For a program that embraces the motto “Why Not Us,” these mid-season slumps do nothing to energize a fanbase bored with the same old talk. They want action, and the loss to Saturday did nothing to prove that action is in the realm of possibility.