The Kentucky Wildcats came to play when they traveled to Knoxville this weekend.
Seeking revenge for the collapse that happened in Rupp just two weeks ago to these very Vols, Kentucky made sure this one was never in doubt en route to a 70-55 victory over Tennessee.
As all fans will know, on top of knocking off the 19th-ranked Volunteers today in Thompson-Boling Arena, the football team came into Knoxville on October 17th and destroyed 18th-ranked Tennessee 34-7.
Why is that important?
It’s not only the first time the Cats have beaten Tennessee on the road in both sports in 60 years, it’s also the first time in school history they’ve done so by 15+ points.
This is the first time that Kentucky has defeated Tennessee in Knoxville in both football and men's basketball in the same academic year since 1958-1959— Corey Price (@coreyp08) February 20, 2021
This is the first time ever that Kentucky has defeated Tennessee in Knoxville by at least 15 points in both football and men's basketball in the same academic year— Corey Price (@coreyp08) February 20, 2021
Knoxville has not been pleasant to Kentucky in recent years for both sports, and that’s especially true in football. The Cats picked up their first win in Neyland Stadium this fall since 1984. It was one of the last prolonged losing streaks that Mark Stoops has helped Kentucky end since he arrived in Lexington.
If the football team wants to compete to win the SEC East for years to come, you are going to have to win in Knoxville to keep pressing towards that goal, so getting that monkey off their back was a big moment for the program.
Basketball hasn’t seen great results either since Rick Barnes has taken over in Rocky Top. Kentucky has lost four times in Knoxville since 2015 and four of five overall in the series coming into today.
These stats show that coming to Tennessee is never easy, and that the rivalry is still very much alive between both programs, which means it feels even better to absolutely crush them both times around this season.
Luckily, both programs for Kentucky are now at a point that this streak of not winning in Knoxville in both sports should not come again in the near future.
Mark Stoops has his team positioned to be significantly better on paper than what Josh Heupel will have in the near future. And while Rick Barnes might have John Calipari’s number at times in this series, there is no question on who the big brother is when it comes to basketball programs.
Plus, it always feels good to beat Tennessee.