Go ahead and pinch yourself. It really happened.
After 26 consecutive defeats by the neighbors down south, Kentucky can finally claim a victory over the Tennessee Volunteers. Ironically the victory came not in one of Kentucky’s five straight bowl seasons, but in a season where the Cats will fail to participate in the post season.
But that shouldn’t stop the Wildcats and their fans from celebrating and enjoying a victory that has been more than a quarter century in the making.
“I feel like we took care of business today,” said senior linebacker Danny Trevathan. “It’s been 26 years. That’s too long for anything. I think we played our hearts out today. I feel like we played one of our best games,” he finished.
It definitely wasn’t pretty, as the Wildcats only completed four passes for 15 yards. But the Cats managed to rush for 202 yards. But senior wide receiver Matt Roark came in for Kentucky’s injured quarterbacks and willed the Wildcat offense to victory, rushing for 124 yards in the game.
“I never expected to do anything like that. Not the part of beating Tennessee, but the me quarterbacking part. It was good. I felt really comfortable out there,” Roark said of his performance.
Roark learned of his role on Monday of this week and there were rumors the last couple of days that Roark would get a number of quarterback snaps during the contest, but nobody really saw this coming.
“I figured it was going to be maybe one or two series and maybe some key plays during the game. On Monday I was like ‘this is for real,’” Roark said.
“Who would pick Matt Roark as the guy who broke the streak,” asked Joker Phillips. “He did an amazing job. We said take care of the football, don’t turn it over,”
The Wildcat defense also did a great job out there, forcing three turnovers and holding the Volunteers to a single score. Tennessee finished up with only 276 total yards and only 61 on the ground.
Winston Guy led the way with 14 tackles, two for lose and a half a sack. Danny Trevathan was steady as usual with eight tackles and one and a half tackles for loss. Freshmen Alvin Dupree, Ashely Lowery and Eric Dixon also contributed to the defensive effort.
“These seniors, they knew this was their last go around. Some of them might get a shot at the next level, some of them might not. I feel like they just gave it all they had. They gave it 100 percent,” said sophomore linebacker Avery Williamson.
There have been 107 games in the Kentucky – Tennessee series and this 10-7 victory today may be the sweetest one every for the Wildcats.
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