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Stoops and Wildcats recap historic win over Volunteers

A great day to be a Wildcat.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Tennessee Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

It didn’t start pretty, but the Kentucky Wildcats put on an absolute clinic against the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville. After the defense technically pitched a shutout last week against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, they traveled to Knoxville and quickly put the clamps on the Volunteers.

Tennessee’s first five drives resulted in a punt, fumble, pick-six, another pick-six and an interception. They’d give up a touchdown on the following drive, but tightened right back up by forcing four consecutive punts and a turnover on downs to end the game.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s offensive momentum (or lack there of) also carried over from last week. They did however manage to gain some traction in the second half of Saturday’s win, scoring on three consecutive drives to begin the second half. Their fourth drive ran out the clock at the Volunteers’ 28-yard line.

After beginning the season with two atrocious weeks on the defensive side of the ball, Kentucky has truly ramped up their efforts and lived up the preseason hype. Their offense is still struggling, but is good enough with the defense playing this exceptional.

Kentucky’s blowout victory over Tennessee is certainly one for the ages, as it’s their first win in Knoxville since 1984 and just their third win against Tennessee in the last 36 years.

Mark Stoops

Opening Statement …

”Obviously, I could not be more proud of our football team and just the way we’ve responded in these past couple of weeks. Early in the season, we had some tough losses, but it’s not for a lack of effort. Our guys didn’t have the right attitude, and I think we cleaned things up. We’ve seen what we can do when we put it together and play good on all sides. We’ve seen spurts of that, but the good news is we haven’t put it all together yet. I felt like we played a really solid second half with the defense not getting any points in the second half, and the offense really controlling the football and really controlling the line of scrimmage. We got some tough yards when we needed it. We got some tough first downs (and) points. We put them in some predictable pass situations. We felt like that’s where we wanted to be. Our coaches did a great job; our players really responded. I’m proud of the group effort.”

On the team searching for its identity …

”I definitely feel like our defense is getting sharper. You could see signs of that in the first two games, but we haven’t been nearly as consistent as we have in these last two. Obviously, creating turnovers has been very big for us and very helpful to the outcome of the games. We just played cleaner overall. I feel like we’re getting really close.”

On junior LB Jamin Davis’ progress …

”Jamin has been really coming along and just getting better and better and getting more and more confident. It’s good. He’s one of those guys that it’s taken some time just for the comfort level for him to play to his ability. He’s a big, long guy out there and you could see today, when he was in that window for the interception, he’s got some length to him and athleticism. We needed him to step up. We’re not overly deep in the inside position, so it’s been a big plus for our team to see Jamin come along.”

Terry Wilson

On being the quarterback for two streak-breaking wins (at Florida and at Tennessee) ...

”It’s special. It really is special, and I know it means a lot to this state and to the University of Kentucky. I’m fortunate, and I’m glad to be in this position. To be able to play SEC teams each week and have a chance to go down there and battle and give it our all, I’m just really fortunate, and I know that our team is really fortunate that we have a chance to go prove ourselves each week.”

On being one of two Kentucky quarterbacks to ever win in both the Swamp and Neyland Stadium ...

”It’s huge, like I said. I think it was Derrick Ramsey, so that’s some great company to be with in that category. And you know, it’s pretty fun to go do some things that haven’t been done in recent years. And that was one of the main things I wanted to do coming here. I wanted to go on the road and beat those teams that we hadn’t in a while, so it’s an awesome feeling to be able to get this W today. It was a beautiful day out there, and everybody played together - offense, defense, we all played together; special teams played well, so we’re just excited all the way around.”

Jamin Davis

On if the defense has found its identity since the Ole Miss game …

”Our identity, honestly, is just to prove everybody wrong. And (we) just remember that one day they can be rooting for us and the next day they could turn their backs on us, so we just do what we’ve got to do to prove everyone wrong.”

On the postgame locker room environment …

”We were definitely excited to get the win, but we already know we’ve got to get back to work this week so we can be prepared for next Saturday. So, it’s on to the next one, honestly. But it’s always great to beat them, so we were excited.”

On how tired the team was of hearing about the streak …

”I’m pretty sure Coach Stoops felt the same way we did when the game was over. We were just so excited to get the W. We’re tired of coming here and leaving empty handed. It’s always a great feeling to win, but beating them here is very special.”