Kelvin Joseph and Jamin Davis returned interceptions for touchdowns in the second quarter Saturday, sparking Kentucky to a 34-7 romp at No. 18 Tennessee, the Wildcats' first win in Knoxville in 36 years.
Kentucky (2-2, 2-2 SEC) converted three Volunteers interceptions into 17 points in less thanseven minutes. It was the Wildcats' most lopsided win in the series since 1935.
After a scoreless first quarter in which the teams exchanged fumbles but didn't come close to scoring, But just two minutes into the second quarter, Tennessee had a third-and-4 at its own 39, when Joseph jumped on an out route, picked off Jarrett Guarantano's pass and raced 41 yards down the left sideline for the 7-0 lead.
On Tennessee's ensuing possession, Guarantano completed four consecutive throws to move the Vols to the UK 28, but there he forced a throw over the middle. Davis snatched it and bolted 85 yards to make it a two-touchdown game.
The Volunteers (2-2, 2-2) switched to backup quarterback J.T. Shrout on their next possession, but his first pass also went to a Kentucky Wildcat. This time it was sophomore Tyrell Ajian who intercepted to set up Kentucky at the Tennessee 37. Matt Ruffolo soon turned it into a 30-yard field goal, making the margin 17-0, with 6:18 remaining in the half.
Guarantano returned on Tennessee's next possession and led a 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 4-yard run by Ty Chandler shortly before halftime, but that was pretty much it for the Volunteers' offense. They managed only 84 yards in the second half, most of it on their final drive with second-teamers dotting the field for Kentucky.
The Wildcats drove 76 yards following the second-half kickoff, with Terry Wilson finding Allen Dailey from the 1-yard line, and Ruffolo chipped in a 27-yard field goal at the 1:02 mark of the third quarter. The two scoring drives consumed 9:46 of the third-quarter clock, with Tennessee able to run only 10 plays for a net 22 yards in the quarter.
Chris Rodriguez finished the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run with 10:54 left in the game. Rodriguez led Kentucky's rushing attack with 73 yards on 13 carries, while Wilson hit on 12 of 15 passes for 101 yards.
Eric Gray rushed 24 times for 128 yards for Tennessee. Guarantano completed 14 of 21 passes for only 88 yards before being benched again in the fourth quarter, this time for true freshman and highly touted recruit Harrison Bailey, widely heralded as the Vols' future quarterback.
Coach Jeremy Pruitt said after the game that he was undecided who would start at quarterback next week for the Vols when they host No. 2 Alabama.
--Field Level Media