Dobbs' big game helps Tennessee beat Kentucky 49-36
On a day when both teams ran wild, Kentucky couldn't quite catch up to Tennessee.
By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - On a day when both teams ran wild, Kentucky couldn't quite catch up to Tennessee.
Joshua Dobbs threw touchdown passes to three different receivers and ran for two more scores Saturday as Tennessee defeated Kentucky 49-36 to continue its domination of this annual series.
Dobbs rushed for 147 yards and Alvin Kamara ran for 128 yards to lead Tennessee's 376-yard rushing attack. Kentucky ran for 443 yards - three yards shy of a 65-year-old single-game school record - but often bogged down in the red zone.
"It's fun with two teams that have good running games just going back and forth," Kamara said. "It's kind of like a battle royale trying to see who has the better punches."
Tennessee (7-3, 3-3 SEC) has won 31 of its last 32 matchups against the Wildcats, with the lone Kentucky win coming in 2011. Kentucky (5-5, 4-4) hasn't beaten Tennessee in Knoxville since 1984.
Dobbs went 11 of 17 for 223 yards with touchdown passes to Josh Smith and Ethan Wolf as well as a 51-yarder to Josh Malone on a flea flicker. Dobbs also had his highest rushing total of the season.
"He's like a tight end playing quarterback," Kentucky linebacker Denzil Ware said. "It's hard to get him down, and when he gets in the zone, you basically can't stop the man."
Tennessee averaged 9.2 yards per carry against a Kentucky defense that lost leading tackler Jordan Jones to back spasms in the first half and had several other players hurt over the course of the game. John Kelly rushed for 94 yards to complement Dobbs and Kamara, who wore a knee brace while returning from an injury that sidelined him for two games.
The Vols moved the ball so well that they only faced five third-down situations all day.
"They were making too much hay on first and second down," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said.
Stanley "Boom" Williams ran for 127 yards and Jojo Kemp added 90 yards - including a 71-yard touchdown - as Kentucky averaged 8.1 yards per carry to threaten the school single-game record of 446 yards rushing, set in 1951 against Tennessee Tech. Kentucky's 443-yard output was the third-highest rushing total ever allowed by Tennessee.
"It's definitely unacceptable," Tennessee defensive end LaTroy Lewis said. "That would never be tolerated. It wouldn't be tolerated at Tennessee in the '70's, '80's, 90's and it's not tolerated now."
But the Wildcats didn't run nearly as effectively once they got into scoring position. Kentucky settled for field goals three times after driving inside Tennessee's 15-yard line and also lost a fumble at the Tennessee 4.
"Obviously when you rush for that many yards, the difference is in the red zone," Stoops said. "They capped it off with touchdowns. We capped it off with some field goals."
Kentucky: The Wildcats continued their recent history of being unable to stop Tennessee's offense. They have allowed 151 points to the Volunteers over the last three seasons. Kentucky's lack of a balanced offense proved costly whenever the Wildcats got into scoring position. Stephen Johnson went 12 of 29 for 192 yards with an interception, and he was sacked four times.
Tennessee: Dobbs continued his personal history of productive performances against Kentucky. Dobbs is 4-0 against Kentucky as a starting quarterback. In those four games, he has 10 touchdown passes and six touchdown runs.
He now has 27 career touchdown runs, the most ever by a Tennessee quarterback. Jimmy Streater had 25 touchdown runs from 1977-79.
Tennessee remains very much alive in the SEC Eastern Division race. In order to win its first division title since 2007, Tennessee must win its two remaining games (against Missouri and Vanderbilt) and have No. 22 Florida lose to No. 19 LSU next week.
"We came as freshman wanting to get Tennessee back in this picture and wanting to be where we are today," Dobbs said. "Now we have to take advantage of this opportunity."
Kentucky is one win away from becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.
Kamara wasn't the only Tennessee captain to return from an injury Saturday. Cornerback Cam Sutton also returned after missing six games with a fractured ankle.
Kentucky hosts Football Championship Subdivision program Austin Peay.
Tennessee hosts Missouri.
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