This was a game Kentucky thoroughly dominated in during the first half, but it was the complete opposite coming out of halftime. It seemed like once Tennessee woke up, they were easily the better team, but the Cats blew plenty of chances to win it.
After generating so much momentum in recent weeks, this loss brings back all the bad feelings of the first two months.
Here is what you need to know from the game:
Lynn Bowden is STILL running all over defenses
Despite the outcome, Lynn Bowden still looked fantastic, even if it was for just the first half. Making highlight reel plays, escaping pressure during the numerous times the pocket collapsed on him. However, you have to think that a Sawyer Smith change will be considered next week due to Kentucky’s inability to throw the ball and not generate a comeback.
The curse of the backup quarterback will never end
Tennessee started the game with Brian Maurer, they ended the game with starter turned backup Jarrett Guarantano torching Kentucky, because of course. The backup quarterback curse reared its ugly head again, and again, Stoops and co. were not prepared nor did they manage to make adjustments to even slow down Guarantano. The Kentucky second half defense made a sub-par quarterback look like an All-American and it was embarrassing.
The Tennessee receivers destroyed Kentucky’s secondary
Once Jarrett Guarantano came into the game to replace an ineffective Brian Maurer, the UT receivers destroyed the UK secondary. The secondary was allowing multiple long pass plays, as well as giving around five or more yards of cushion per play, allowing the Vols receivers to get open with ease.
Conservative play-calling towards the end of the first half
Kentucky had a chance to potentially put the nail in the coffin and guess what they did? If you guessed wasted a whole minute of time and did nothing to move the ball, you’d be right, as Stoops opted to punt the ball after putting together a solid end-of-the-half drive. That ultimately proved costly in a game Kentucky lost by just four points and had several potential scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
Chris Rodriguez was Kentucky’s second best rushing attack tonight next to Lynn Bowden. Rodriguez made all the right reads, hit all the right holes, and had his best game as a Wildcat to date. Although, he was stuffed on the one yard line on third and goal in a crucial situation, Rodriguez did play his tail off.
Now, let’s discuss.