KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – 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.
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, Ethan Wolf and Josh Malone. Dobbs also rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including a 45-yarder.
Malone’s 51-yard touchdown catch came on a flea flicker in the third quarter, as John Kelly took the handoff and pitched it back to Dobbs.
“He had great command of the line of scrimmage, a great command performance,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said.
Tennessee rushed for 376 yards and 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. Alvin Kamara rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. John Kelly rushed for 94 yards.
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.
Kentucky rushed for 443 yards – three yards shy of a 65-year-old school single-game record – but wasn’t nearly efficient enough in the red zone. Kentucky settled for field goals three times after driving inside Tennessee’s 15-yard line and also lost a fumble at the Tennessee 4.
Stanley “Boom” Williams led Kentucky with 127 yards rushing. Jojo Kemp added 90 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown.
Kentucky lost its second straight game to waste another chance to become bowl eligible for first time since 2010 as the Wildcats attempt to avoid a third straight late-season collapse. Last season, Kentucky was 4-1 before losing six of its last seven games. Two years ago, Kentucky was 5-1 before ending the season with six straight losses.
The Wildcats have a golden opportunity to earn that elusive sixth win next week when they host Football Championship Subdivision program Austin Peay.
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.