Turnover troubles cost big as No. 18 Tennessee falls to SEC East rival Kentucky 34-7

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Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt watches the first half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- Turnover troubles and penalties continue to cost Tennessee after committing four in the first half that lead to 17 points for the Wildcats, snapping their five-game win streak at home.

Anything you can do, I can do better.

It was a defensive battle in the first four drives of the game.

It started with the Vols after linebacker Henry To’o To’o sacked Terry Wilson on third down for a loss of four yards, forcing The Cats to punt after three plays.

Kentucky repaid the favor right back, sacking Guarantano on 3rd & 11, forcing Tennessee to punt.

In Kentucky’s second drive of the game defensive back Bryce Thompson forced a fumble and the ball was back into Tennessee’s hands.

But like the first time two drives, it was the same fate for Tennessee; this time a fumble committed by quarterback Jarrett Guarantano giving the ball back to Kentucky but they did not get far with it—this time.

LaTrell Bumphus sacked Terry Wilson, forcing Tennessee to punt closing out the first quarter scoreless.

Turnover troubles cost big, Kentucky’s secondary capitalizes

The second quarter went from bad to worse for the Vols in turnovers with Jarrett Guarantano throwing back-to-back pick sixes, giving Kentucky an easy 14-0 lead, giving Guarantano a grand total of six turnovers from the second half of the Georgia game.

Backup quarterback J.T. Shrout took the field for the first time this season, hoping to spark momentum on the offense, but followed right in JG’s shoes throwing an interception that lead to three points for the Wildcats after completing a 30-yard field goal.  

Kentucky’s 17-0 lead with under six minutes left in the second quarter was all thanks to Tennessee quarterback’s mistakes.

Establishing the Run

On the Vols sixth drive they give Guarantano a second chance, switching the attack and establishing the run.

After running the ball for 67 yards, on 3rd & goal with 1:36 left in the half Ty Chandler runs it in 4-yards to give Tennessee their only 6 on the day. Brent Cimaglia caps off a scoring drive of 14 plays for 75 yards, 71 yards on the ground to cut the lead 14-7.

After a pair of timeouts, Tennessee gets the ball back but after 3 plays for 8 yards they punt to close the first half 14-7.

The bright spot on offense came from the backfield in Eric Gray who rushed for a season-high 128 yards on 24 carries, and Ty Chandler who knotted 51 yards on 12 carries and the only score for UT.

Second Half struggles

The Vols struggle to get any rhythm going on offense in their opening drive in the second half, forcing to punt after Kentucky’s defense held them to 3 plays for 9 yards.

Tennessee’s defensive line held Kentucky in the trenches on second and goal with 8:05 left in the third, but Kentucky extended their lead with a 1-yard touchdown pass putting them up 24-7.

As Kentucky extended their lead, the gap between Tennessee and the SEC elite started to widen.

A sack for Guarantano on Tennessee’s following drive continued to beat down the Vols struggling momentum, resulting with Tennessee punting after 4 plays on 3 yards.

New Faces on the Field

After a 27-yard field goal and 2-yard touchdown for Kentucky that extended the Wildcats lead 34-7 resulted in another new Vol taking the field for the first time this season.

With less than ten left in the game, true freshman Harrison Bailey suits up to take snaps.

Harrison completed a 24-yard pass to Malachi Wideman to push the vols over 100 passing yards on the day but could not provide the miracle the Vols needed on offense.

Tennessee ended the day with the lowest passing yards this season with 112. Penalties continue to plague the Vols giving up 63 yards on 6 penalties.

Guarantano completed 14 of 21 for 88 yards and two interceptions.

The Vols snapped their 17-game win-streak at Neyland against Kentucky that dated back to 1984 today after falling to the Wildcats 34-7.

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