The Kentucky Wildcats had a week off to try and fix the issues we saw in the previous two games against Georgia and Missouri.
However, Saturday night was no easy task as the Tennessee Volunteers were in town for this matchup.
This game could not have started worse as Tennessee took advantage of a three-and-out by taking the early 7-0 lead. That was followed by Kentucky being stopped on 4th down, leading to a UT field goal to make it 10-0.
Kentucky’s offense answered the call as they were able to march down the field but had to settle for a field goal to make it 10-3.
After a UT field goal, Kentucky drove back down the field and, this time, capped it off with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Barion Brown to make it 13-10.
Unfortunately, Tennessee answered with a touchdown of their own, but the Cats responded once again as Ray Davis ran it in for the 7-yard touchdown to make it 20-17.
After a questionable call of a completed catch, the Vols were able to get in field goal range to send this one to halftime with the Vols leading 23-17.
After exchanging stops to start the half, Tennessee added another field goal, and the Cats answered by finding Dane Key for a 7-yard touchdown to make it 26-24.
Kentucky had a chance to take the lead early in the 4th quarter, but the 53-yard field goal attempt was no good.
The defense was not able to get a big stop when needed as the Vols marched down the field to find the end zone and extend the lead to 33-24.
With just under 5 minutes to go, Kentucky’s offense was able to get a field goal to make it a 33-27 game.
Unfortunately, the defense could not get the needed stop to give the ball back to the offense, and Tennessee went on to win it 33-27.
Here are four things to know from Saturday’s loss to the Vols.
Devin Leary looked like the player we saw at NC State
Through the first 7 games, Leary did not look like the player we all expected to see when he announced his move from NC State to Lexington.
However, against the Vols, Leary was the player we had been waiting to see as he completed 28 of his 39 passes for 373 yards and 2 TDs.
The passing game was nonexistent prior to Saturday night, but hopefully, this is the Leary we are going to see the rest of the season, as the Cats have some very tough games ahead on the schedule.
The wide receivers were making plays
Kentucky has had a major problem with receivers dropping passes this season. In fact, they had the highest drop percentage in the country to this point.
On Saturday, Kentucky’s pass catchers were making plays for their quarterback. Specifically, Barion Brown and Dane Key looked like the receivers we saw last season.
Key led the way hauling in 7 catches for 113 yards and a TD, while Brown finished with 5 receptions for 58 yards and a TD. The biggest note is that neither player dropped a pass.
Ray Davis slowed by the Vols’ defense
So far this season, Davis has been the clear MVP for Kentucky’s offense as he has been responsible for the majority of the Cats’ offensive production.
On Saturday, Davis was able to add to his touchdown count but overall was contained by the Vols as he finished with 42 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. The 2.6 yards per carry is not what we are used to seeing from Davis this season.
What has happened to Brad White’s defense?
Over the last several seasons, the Cats have hung their hat on having one of the best defenses in the SEC.
The last three games have not been up to the standard we are all used to, seeing as they have given up 122 points in the last three games.
Kentucky’s defense at least stopped the Vols on two drives in the second half after giving up points on all five first-half drives.
The defense had a chance with just under 5 minutes to go to get a stop and give the offense a chance to win the game, but they couldn’t step up and get the stop.
The offensive issues appear to have been improved during the bye week, now we need to see the defensive issues resolved sooner rather than later, as the schedule does not get any easier moving forward.