VOLS SEND SENIORS OUT WITH 37-17 WIN OVER KENTUCKY
KNOXVILLE - Tennessee said goodbye to its seniors with a 37-17 victory over Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.
Its offense, the brightest spot in an otherwise difficult season, again
led the way behind quarterback Tyler Bray and a slew of skill players.
Tight end Mychal Rivera, and receivers Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin
Hunter and Zach Rogers all caught touchdown passes in the final game of
Tennessee's 5-7 season.
Rivera and Patterson helped break the game open with third-quarter
touchdowns, turning a 3-point lead into a comfortable margin down the
Rivera's 29-yard grab ended a 61-yard drive that gave UT a 27-17 lead
after the Wildcats (2-10, 0-8 SEC) began the second half with 7
1/2-minute drive that ended in a field goal.
Patterson's 21-yard catch gave the Vols a 34-17 lead, and Kentucky never got any closer the rest of the way.
The Vols (5-7, 1-7) now wait to see who will be back for 2013.
Besides players like Bray, Hunter and Patterson, who will choose
between another season at UT and entering the NFL Draft, Tennessee will
also have a new head coach next season.
Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart announced last
Sunday that Derek Dooley would not return next season. Offensive
coordinator Jim Chaney led the Vols on Saturday as interim head coach.
Shortly after Chaney greeted each of UT's seniors on their final trip
through the 'T,' the Vols opened with an 80-yard touchdown drive that
ended with a 21-yard pass from Bray to Rogers barely more than 2
minutes into the game.
Kentucky answered right back, converting twice on third down, including
a 29-yard pass to Jonathan George on third-and-1 that set up a 1-yard
touchdown pass to D.J. Warren three plays later.
Kentucky tried to catch the Vols off guard on the ensuing kickoff, but
Jacob Carter fielded a short kick and returned it 15 yards to the
Four plays later, linebacker A.J. Johnson scored his team-leading sixth
rushing touchdown to give UT a 14-7 lead 6:01 to go in the first
The Vols added to that lead on a 42-yard catch and run by Hunter, who
finished with three catches for 65 yards on Saturday. Those three
receptions left him four short of Marcus Nash's single-season record of
76, set in 1997.
Kentucky's offense came to life in the second quarter -- and had a chance to take a lead just before halftime.
After Hunter's touchdown catch, the Wildcats marched to midfield before
George broke a career-long 45-yard touchdown run to cut UT's lead to
20-14 with 10:18 left before halftime.
After forcing the Vols to punt on back-to-back possessions, Kentucky
moved the ball all the way to the UT 14-yard line with a little more
than a minute to go.
But Johnson, the Vols' leading tackler, recorded his first career sack
on first down to back UK up to the 24-yard line with 29 seconds to go.
Craig McIntosh missed a 36-yard field goal attempt with 16 seconds to
go before halftime, allowing the Vols to hold onto a six-point lead.