How Tennessee Vols football defense got game-winning stop against Kentucky in thriller



In a cold night in Lexington, where defensive stops were at a premium, Tennessee Vols football turned up the heat and won the game.

Saturday’s game between the Vols and Kentucky at Kroger Field was a crazy, back-and-forth affair that ended with a similarly eventful sequence and a 45-42 Tennessee victory.

The Wildcats tried to bring its last drive to a simmer in the final five minutes, taking its time by continuing to run the ball and look for intermediate pass completions. But Will Levis and the Kentucky offense was pressed into hurry-up mode after a third down sack on a tackle that appeared to include a facemask by a Tennessee defender.

In response to a replay of the missed penalty, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops got a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his antics toward an official.

That produced a 4th and 24 play, which the Wildcats naturally converted on a 28-yard catch by Izayah Cummings.

But the Vols stiffened, getting a turnover on downs following four blitzes and subsequent pressures on Levis, including this rushed throw on fourth down with 29 seconds left.

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In fairness, there were three other very important stops for the Vols defense. In the first half, Kentucky was held to a field goal that was missed. (A win of any kind was a good one for the defenses on Saturday.) The Vols also got a stop on fourth down in Tennessee territory late in the first half, which turned into a scoring opportunity and a Tennessee made field goal to end the half. (Note the final score.) And finally, Alontae Taylor had a third quarter pick-six that gave Tennessee the lead for good.

But the stop in the final minute wrapped up the game for good.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: How Tennessee Vols football defense got game-winning stop against Kentucky


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