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CATS Whipped on Rocky Top

Jaylen Wright - UT Athletics

Tennessee dominates Kentucky 44-6.

KNOXVILLE – October 29, 2022 – David Leveridge

Following a bye week and a good win against the Mississippi State Bulldogs two weeks ago, Kentucky ran into the red hot and #3 ranked Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee was coming off a monumental win against Alabama resulting in fans storming the field, tearing down the goal posts and breaking a sixteen-year losing streak to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Tonight, we saw two programs who both had high expectations to begin the season, who has a completely different path towards the post season and bowl eligibility.  Tennessee is trending not only towards playing in the SEC championship but have a legit shot at making the College Football playoffs, while Kentucky has now lost three of the last four games and are now mid-pack of SEC East Football.

Today’s game saw the Volunteers Dominate the Wildcats in all areas of the game. Tennessee scored a season high of forty-four points against a solid Kentucky defense and the game was never close except for the first quarter with Kentucky’s only score of the game a Chris Rodriguez three-yard rushing touchdown. Kentucky only crossed midfield on two other possessions during the game. Will Levis did not live up to expectations, throwing three costly interceptions and only passing for ninety-eight yards. Tennessee was dominant on the other hand with Heisman Hopeful QB Hendon Hooker passing for three touchdowns and two hundred and forty-five passing yards. The Kentucky defense had no answer for Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt who caught two touchdowns and one hundred and thirty- eight receiving yards.

Game Summary:

1st Quarter: Tennessee received the kick on the opening possession and soon found the endzone with an explosive passing play from Hooker to Hyatt with a passing touchdown of fifty- five yards. Kentucky responded with giving the ball to Rodriguez who finished the drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown and completed Kentucky’s only scoring possession of the game with a nine play seventy-one-yard drive. The PAT Kick by Matt Ruffolo was no good and Tennessee led 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.

2nd Quarter:  Tennessee scored an unanswered twenty points in the second quarter and quickly deflated Kentucky’s chances of an improbable win in Knoxville. Kentucky had no answer to slow down the explosive Volunteer offense. On the opening play of the quarter Tennessee found the endzone with a three- yard rushing Touchdown by RB Princeton Fant. Kentucky was forced to punt on the next possession and the Vols quickly found the endzone again with a one- yard rushing touchdown by Jalen Wright. Kentucky had momentum on the next possession with the CATS reaching the redzone. Levis threw to WR Tayvion Robinson was near the ten-yard line, the ball was tipped in the air by Robinson and was recovered by the UT Defensive back who returned the ball forty- four yards downfield and crossed into Kentucky territory before being brought down. Two plays later UT extended the lead with a passing TD from Hooker to Hyatt of thirty- one yards. With the Touchdown catch by Hyatt, the receiver set a school record for receiving TD in a season. At intermission Tennessee had a commanding lead of twenty-one points and led Kentucky 27-6.

photo credit: UT Athletics

Third Quarter:  Kentucky come out flat in the second half and struggled to move the ball with Levis throwing two additional interceptions in the quarter. Levis two interceptions resulted in points on the board for Tennessee. Tennessee capitalized with ten unanswered points in the quarter. On the first scoring possession of the quarter Tennessee scored on a twenty-eight- yard FG by kicker Chase McGrath. The Vols found the endzone one more time in the quarter when Hooker rushed for an eight- yard rushing TD on the QB keeper. At the end of the third quarter Tennessee had a commanding lead and led Kentucky 37-6.

Fourth Quarter:  With the game out of reach, and apparent that Kentucky was not going to win the game UT added another score pouring salt in the wound to a deflated Kentucky team. Kentucky continued to compete and put together the team’s best possession of the second half crossing midfield but unable to covert with a score. Tennessee found the endzone with a thirteen-yard passing play from Hooker to Jabari Smith for the final score of the game. Tennessee dominates Kentucky with a thirty-eight-point victory. Tennessee 44- Kentucky 6.

Kentucky is now 5-3 overall with a 2-3 record in SEC Play. Today’s performance will drop Kentucky out of the National rankings. Kentucky will finish road play for the season next week traveling to Columbia, Missouri to play the Missouri Tigers in another SEC East matchup. Missouri will enter next week’s matchup defeating a ranked South Carolina Gamecocks team this weekend 23-10.

Stats: Player Stats Kentucky.

  • QB Will Levis 16 completions, twenty-seven attempts, passing for ninety-eight yards, three interceptions, 0 TD.
  • RB Chris Rodriguez 15 attempts, gaining sixty-four yards, 1 TD, Long run sixteen yards, avg yards/ carry 4.3 yards.
  • RB La’Vell Wright 8 attempts, gaining thirty-three yards, long run fifteen yards, avg yards/carry 4.1 yards.
  • WR Jordan Dingle 4 receptions, gaining forty-four yards, avg yards/reception eleven, long reception twenty-four yards.

Stats:  Player Stats Tennessee

  • QB Hendon Hooker 19 completions, twenty-five attempts, passing for 245 yards, three touchdowns (1 Rushing TD, two passing TD).
  • RB Jabari Small 21 attempts, gaining seventy-eight yards, long run ten yards, avg yards/carry 3.7
  • RB Jaylen Wright 7 attempts, gaining seventy-three yards, 1 TD, long run thirty-five yards, avg yards/carry 10.4
  • WR Jalin Hyatt 5 receptions, gaining 138 yards, 2 TD, long reception fifty-five yards, avg yards/ reception 27.6

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