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After the lackluster performance against Mississippi State, the Kentucky Wildcats faced off against the Tennessee Volunteers in hopes to right the ship and continue their historically good season. The Volunteers were coming off back-back losses and were wanting revenge after the 34-7 loss to the Wildcats last season. Both teams knew that the game would be a competitive and high scoring one.

The game came down to the wire, but the Wildcats could not come out on top. The Volunteers won 45 to 42 despite only having the football for 13:52 of the game. The Wildcat’s defense was not the defense that we have seen for much of the year and gave up too many big plays. The Vols had two touchdowns on passes over 70 yards. However, UK still had a chance to win the game on the final drive until a missed facemask caused Mark Stoops to yell enough to gain a penalty for 15-yards. This kept the Cats out of field goal range and the game ended with the Wildcats still behind by three.

Despite the poor performance on offense, Kentucky gained 612 total yards. Will Levis threw for 387 yards with three touchdowns. He also rushed 15 times for 47 yards and two touchdowns. Wan’Dale Robinson put on a great performance too with 13 catches for 133 yards.

The Cats led in every statistic except the one that mattered, the final score. The next two games look to be easy wins for the Cats, but Kentucky will face Louisville in the final game of the season and they have to play better defense to win that game. The next game will be in Nashville when the Cats play Vanderbilt with a 7:30 kickoff.

Game Summary:

1st Quarter:

Kentucky won the coin toss and elected to defer, which may have been a mistake because Tennessee scored on their opening play with a 75-yard pass to JaVonta Payton. Kentucky scored on their opening possession on a 14-play drive with a 9-yard rush by Kavosiey Smoke to tie the game 7-7. Another 70-yard pass to Velus Jones Jr.

2nd Quarter:

Kentucky opened the second quarter with a missed 50-yard field goal. After a huge pass play by Tennessee, Kentucky forced a fumble and regained the football on the 29-yard line. The Wildcats evened the score at 14 to 14 after a diving score by Will Levis. Kentucky took their first lead of the game on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Justin Rigg making the score 21 to 14. The lead didn’t last long as the Volunteers scored on their next possession on an 18-yard touchdown pass. The Cats turned the ball over on downs on the following possession which allowed Tennessee to score a field goal to end the half with the score 24 to 21 in UT’s favor.

3rd Quarter:

The Wildcats used their opening drive of the second half to score a touchdown on a 2-yard run by Will Levis retaking the lead 28 to 24. It took only 37 seconds for the Volunteers to score a touchdown of their own. A 37-yard rush by Jabari Small gave UT the lead 31 to 28 with 9:11 left in the third. Will Levis threw a pick six on UK’s next possession that extended the lead 38 to 28 in Tennessee’s favor. Levis made up for his interception by throwing a 15-yard touchdown to Wan’Dale Robinson to close the score within three points 38 to 35.

4th Quarter:

Tennessee was the first to score in the fourth with a 6-yard reception to Cedric Tillman. The touchdown pushed the lead to double digits 45 to 35. It only took 2:04 seconds for the Cats to respond with a 24-yard touchdown reception by Izayah Cummings. The game became unreachable for the Wildcats on the final drive of the game when the referees missed a face mask which caused Coach Stoops to get a personal foul which moved the Wildcats far out of field goal range. The game ended with the Cats behind 45 to 42.

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