Two defensive touchdowns in three consecutive first half interceptions pushed Kentucky to its first victory against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium since 1984. A 34-7 win wiped out a 17-game losing streak in Knoxville, the former longest active loss at a venue on FBS.
Kelvin Joseph was the first to enter the party, breaking a selfish route to walk 41 yards for a touchdown. Jamin Davis had to work quite hard, bumbling and stumbling 85 yards to reach the end zone. Brandin Echols’ blocking of the next possession set up a goal in Matt Ruffolo’s field that gave the UK an early 17-0 lead.
There was only one other time ever that Kentucky had at least a 10-point halftime lead against Tennessee in Knoxville: October 21, 1893! (Kentucky led 32-0 at halftime, went on to win 56-0) (The first ever meeting between two schools)
– Corey Price (@ coreyp08) October 17, 2020
Kentucky’s defense didn’t get much help from offense in the first half. Ruffolo had to kick a field goal after Keaton Upshaw dropped a touchdown pass. In the first half Wildcat’s offense accumulated just 75 yards on 25 plays (3 yards per play).
That all changed in the third quarter thanks to a competent passing game and Chris Rodriguez.
After forcing a three-and-out in the opening of Tennessee’s drive, aid to the UK is ready to help the defense. Although an 18-yard pass to Josh Ali on the first drive play was reversed, Kentucky’s longest play of the day, the Wildcats marched 76 yards on the field to score a fade to Allen Dailey, his second big reception momentum-swinging drive.
Chris Rodriguez got the UK in striking coverage on the drive that released air from the Vols cruises, which was 42 yards on six carry to play the role as featured behind Kentucky. He finished the day with 13 yards on 73 yards and a score that put Kentucky at 34-7.
Kentucky’s defense just gave up 22 yards and first down in the third quarter, forcing three Tennessee punts to start the route.
At halftime many Kentucky fans fear the worst. The Big Blue Nation ended its heart many times. Instead, Kentucky found its offensive identity as the Wildcats defense struck the injured victim.
Few fans saw Kentucky win in Knoxville. Some Kentucky football wins have been even more enjoyable.