Tennessee Football: Defense continued to improve against Kentucky

Tennessee Football took an embarrassing loss to Kentucky on Saturday, and although Kentucky scored 34 points, the defense isn’t to blame.

Going into halftime, Tennessee football trailed Kentucky 17-7. The Vols opened the scoring with a touchdown but failed to score for the rest of the game. Of the 17 points Kentucky scored in the first half, the two touchdowns were pick-sixes, and the field goal was given to Kentucky on a short field after a fumble.

Through the first half, Kentucky’s offense only had 65 total yards. No drive was long enough to put the Wildcats in scoring position without the help of a turnover happy Tennessee offense.

Without the two interceptions and the fumble, Tennessee very likely would’ve went into halftime leading 7-0. Kentucky might’ve put together a drive to kick a field goal or score a touchdown, but of the Wildcats’ six drives in the first half, four of them ended with Kentucky gaining less than ten yards.

The second half was much of the same for the Tennessee offense. The Vols’ first three drives ended in a punt, and the final drive ended in a turnover on downs.

On the other hand, Kentucky was able to figure things out on offense while taking advantage of the time Tennessee’s defense was forced to stay on the field thanks to the Vols’ struggling offense.

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Kentucky was able to double its points and score its first offensive touchdowns. If the Tennessee offense was able to sustain a drive longer than four plays in the second half, then that might not have been the case.

After Kentucky’s first drive, Tennessee’s offense was on the field for a total of 7 minutes and 10 seconds, with its longest driving being its last drive that lasted 3 minutes and 35 seconds.

Tennessee’s defense was on the field trying to stop Kentucky for over 21 minutes in the second half. There’s no doubt that Kentucky’s offense was the story of the second half, but that’s only because Tennessee’s offense was nonexistent, and the entire team relied solely on the defense.

No defense in the world will be able to stop any SEC offense (with the possible exception of Vanderbilt) while being on the field for more than 21 of the 30 minutes in a half.

I can tell you that if Tennessee’s offense does that again in any of the Vols’ remaining games, then they won’t win that game either. Tennessee can not suffer a half without scoring and giving the opposing offense the ball for nearly the entire half.

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Tennessee’s defense played a great game. They shut down Kentucky in the first half, and the Vols offense did them no favors in the second half and forced them to stay on the field for more than two-thirds of the second half.