Vols: Not Much Of A Horse Race In Kentucky


The Vols were American Pharoah and the Wildcats of Kentucky were a Mule.

Tennessee began the the last half of the season with a thrashing of Kentucky 52-21 up in the Commonwealth. The Vols got out of the gate fast holding Kentucky to a quick three and out, and driving the ball down to the Wildcat 15 in the first minutes of the game. It looked like it would be a wire to wire finish.

But Vols quarterback Joshua Dobbs was stripped of the ball and Kentucky’s 300 pound Cory Johnson returned it for 77 yards for an opening touchdown. Vol fans everywhere took a deep breath, and started thinking a few negative thoughts. I guarantee it. The Vols were an 8 point favorite. This was supposed to be a tight game. The Vols could not afford to give Kentucky an easy one….or could they?

A few series later Dobbs rumbled into the end zone to tie the game with another great 28 yard  run. The Vols held a 170-2 yard advantage offensively, but were tied. It was a Tennessee type of thing. They were obviously the better team, but they were tied. Again, some thoughts creeped in that were not positive. The Vols had outplayed Oklahoma and Florida as well.

But there were no negative thoughts on the Tennessee sideline. The Vols went up 10-7 on a badly needed 44 yard field goal by Aaron Medley. Kentucky battled back with a easy touchdown drive that resulted in a 14-10 Wildcat lead.

It was at that point that Jockey Butch Jones must have given the Vols the reigns and said go. The Vols went on a scoring rampage and punished the Wildcats with six straight touchdowns. The Vols were not challenged in the second half. The race was over. No Mint Juleps for Kentucky fan at the end of this one. There may have been some Whiskey to wash away the nightmare however.

The Vols unleashed the special teams duo of Evan Berry and Cam Sutton. Berry took a kick off 5 yards deep in the end zone and raced across the Bluegrass State for his third touchdown return of the season. He was crowned All American by many on social media and television afterwards.

The Vols held Kentucky to a six play 14 yard series, and watched Cam Sutton race through the Kentucky punt return team like Secretariat at Churchill Downs. The stands started to empty as the Vols were now up 52-21. The Blue was gone and nothing but Orange remained in the stands. Kentucky fans went to twitter and facebook to begin the “now we know how you Tennessee fans feel when you play us in basketball”.

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The Vols have beaten Kentucky basketball team more than any other school in the country there as well, but I get their point. And it will probably not be pretty this year for sure. But this is football. This is another win. There is thirty year old Kentucky Bourbon in barrels up there that has only seen one Wildcat Victory since being distilled back in the 1980’s. Think about that.

Kentucky had some moments. They gashed Tennessee for a few runs. Most of those were brought back for holding. The Vols gave up some big plays in the passing game to Wildcat quarterback Patrick Towles. But it was all Vols for the most part.

The game was not without incident for the Vols. Tennessee will lose cornerback Emmanuel Moseley who was flagged for a targeting foul. It was a clean hit. One of the worst calls I have seen this season, and I have seen a lot this year. Moseley clearly led with his shoulder into the chest of a Kentucky receiver. He was ejected for the hit and will miss the first half of the South Carolina game….which is huge for Tennessee.

I’m not sure what else Moseley could have done. I guess he could have knee-capped the receiver which would be dangerous to the receiver’s legs. He could have just allowed him to make the catch and escorted him to the end zone so he could play in the next game. I think that is what it is coming to.

The rule has merit. It has cut down on the cheap shots that defensive backs have taken for years at receivers who are defenseless when they go across the middle trying to haul in a pass. I think it is a good rule. I always hated watching a safety stand over a receiver that went up to try and catch a pass in the middle of the field. It was cheap.

But this was different. The Kentucky receiver took about 4 steps and had time to get his head around. He was not defenseless. He was not hit in the head. He was not hit with Moseley’s helmet. It was a bad, bad call. It will be appealed to the SEC. We know how that will turn out though.

All in all it was a total success for Tennessee. Offense, Defense and Special Teams played well. This team is on a mission to close out this season. Saturday night the Vols served notice that they intend on finishing strong. Kind of like American Pharoah.

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