By LARRY VAUGHT
Finding ways to lose in Knoxville and Gainesville is just something Kentucky football has done for years and years.
Sure, Kentucky won at Gainesville this year, something most UK fans did not expect. But UK fans did truly expect that the Cats could win at Knoxville Saturday for the first time since 1984. Instead, the Vols rolled 24-7 over No. 12 Kentucky in a game that was never close after the first quarter.
No surprise that Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said it was his team’s most complete game of the year. Kentucky fans have heard a lot of coaches say that over the years.
“I thought offensively, we found a way to run the football against a very good football team. We challenged our players this week that we wanted to have the most rushing yards, and I think we did,” Pruitt said. “I thought for the first time, we had a little bit of physicality for the entire game. It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely very positive.
“I thought defensively, we kept them from creating explosive plays. We kind of made them one dimensional and it’s a lot easier to guard the pass if you make them one dimensional.”
Kentucky had no dimension for most of the game. Benny Snell couldn’t generate consistent rushing yards. Quarterback Terry Wilson couldn’t get the ball down the field. It was a mess for the UK offense.
“In the second half, we didn’t get off the field on third down and kind of let them keep drives going. You have to give them credit for that,” Pruitt said.
Maybe. But Kentucky couldn’t complete drives and most of its yards came after the Cats were down 24-0.
“I thought twice or maybe three times, defensively we kind of put the fire out. Kentucky had really good field position, or maybe they moved the ball down and our guys got some turnovers. That was probably the big difference in the game,” Pruitt said.