Tennessee football: Five takeaways from Vols 34-7 loss to Kentucky

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Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis (44) intercepts a pass intended for Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt (11) during a SEC conference football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Kentucky Wildcats held at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, October 17, 2020.
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Here’s what we learned from the Tennessee football Volunteers’ loss to the Wildcats.

Jarrett Guarantano threw two pick-sixes in a string of four straight first-half turnovers that spotted the Kentucky Wildcats a 14-0 lead, and the Tennessee football defense did not get a stop in the second half. This resulted in the Vols losing to its northern rival 34-7, its worst loss to UK since a 27-0 loss in 1935.

Jeremy Pruitt’s team fell to 2-2 in the process, and Mark Stoops’ team improved to 2-2. This was Kentucky’s first win at Neyland Stadium and only its third overall since 1984. It was also the first for the program over UT since 2017.

After an eight-game winning streak dating back to the mid-point of last year, Tennessee football is now on a two-game losing streak. Kentucky is on a two-game winning streak after losing to the Auburn Tigers and Ole Miss Rebels to open the season.

While both teams exchanged punts on their opening drive, the Vols forced the first turnover, as Bryce Thompson stripped the ball away from Josh Ali. However, Guarantano fumbled on the next drive. After UT forced a punt, he threw his pick-sixes on back to back drives. JT Shrout came in and threw an interception that gave Kentucky a 17-0 lead.

Guarantano then came back in and led a late first-half scoring drive to cut the lead to 17-7 at halftime. In the second half, the Vols got the ball first and seemed to be in good shape if they couldn’t turn the ball over.

However, UT failed to get a first down on its first three offensive possessions of the first half. Kentucky, meanwhile, scored two touchdowns and a field goal on its first three offensive possessions of the second half, and that clinched the game.

Up next for Rocky Top is a matchup against the Alabama Crimson Tide, and Kentucky will visit the Missouri Tigers. Before we look ahead to next week, though, we have to recap what happened Saturday. Here are five things we learned from Tennessee football’s loss at Neyland.

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