Saturday night the Tennessee Volunteers defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 30-24 in OT. This win marked the 25th consecutive victory for the Vols over the Wildcats.
After starting off with a rather sloppy first half of play the Vols dominated the second half. The UT offense was led by senior running back Montario Hardesty, who carried the ball 39 times for a career-high 179 yards. He also scored 3 rushing touchdowns, including the game winner, a 20-yard run, in OT. Senior QB Jonathan Crompton ended the night 13-of-23 for 220 yards and a TD.
The Vols defense struggled some once again against the run. Kentucky had quite a bit of success running their “wildcat” formation with the direct snap to Randall Cobb. That formation put the Wildcats into position late in the 4th quarter to connect on a 33-yard field goal to force overtime. The UT defense really stepped up in overtime and was able to come up with a couple of big stops on Kentucky’s first possession to force a field goal attempt from 49 yards, which the Wildcats missed. That set the Vols up in position to just kick a field goal and win the game. Fortunately that wasn’t even an option after Hardesty ran the winning TD from 20 yards out.
This was a huge win for the Vols for a few reasons. First, the winning streak against the Wildcats remains in tact. Second, the victory secures second place in the SEC East for the Vols. Third, because of that second place spot the Vols should be headed to central Florida for a Jan. 1 appearance in the Outback Bowl.
Those of you who follow my blog regularly know that I give this weekly recap after each UT game. I’m glad to say I’ll have one more to post! I was doubtful early in the season when they were struggling. The team really worked hard and turned this season around to finish 7-5 and have the chance for a New Year’s Day bowl game. They have come a long way! I can’t wait for the bowl game!