- Associated Press - Sunday, November 1, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky is entering a distressingly familiar situation as it tries to avoid a repeat of last year’s late-season collapse.

Joshua Dobbs accounted for four touchdowns and Tennessee scored on both a kickoff return and punt return Saturday in a 52-21 rout of Kentucky, which suffered its third straight loss.

“It was not very good football,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “It’s not acceptable. It’s not OK.”

Tennessee (4-4, 2-3 SEC) has won 30 of its last 31 meetings with Kentucky (4-4, 2-4).

Last year, the Wildcats started 5-1 before losing their last six games and failing to become bowl eligible. A relatively favorable late-season schedule this year gives Kentucky a better shot at earning its first bowl bid since 2010, but the Wildcats first must plug the leaks in their defense.

In its last two games, Kentucky has allowed 94 points and 1,068 yards.

“The only way you make this feeling go away is to go get a victory and go prepare the right way and go in with a tough mentality and go get a win,” Stoops said. “Go get No. 5, and that’s the only thing we have got to concentrate on.”

A busy weekend sports schedule in Kentucky forced Tennessee to get creative with its itinerary for this road trip. Because Lexington was hosting both this game and the Breeders’ Cup on Saturday, there weren’t enough available local hotel rooms for the Volunteers.

Tennessee spent Friday night in Cincinnati, about 80 miles north of Kentucky’s campus. The Vols held a walk-through Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium - the Cincinnati Bengals’ home field - before driving back to Lexington.

Their indirect route to the game didn’t bother the Vols. After briefly falling behind 14-10 with 5 ½ minutes left in the first half, Tennessee outscored Kentucky 42-7 over a span of 15 minutes.

“We were just controlling the things that we can control,” Dobbs said. “We can’t really control the bus ride, where we stay, all that stuff. But we can control how we come out and play football, and we did that well tonight.”

Kentucky’s Mikel Horton rushed for 109 yards, while Patrick Towles was 16 of 33 for 184 yards with a touchdown pass, an interception and a touchdown run. The Wildcats lost leading rusher Boom Williams to an elbow injury in the second quarter.

Dobbs was 16 of 26 for 233 yards with one interception and two touchdown passes, including a 75-yard pass to Josh Malone that put Tennessee ahead for good late in the second quarter. He also rushed for 51 yards and two scores.

Evan Berry scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and Cam Sutton reached the end zone on an 84-yard punt return in the third quarter. Berry has three touchdowns on kickoff returns this year to tie Willie Gault’s 35-year-old school single-season record.

That marked the second time this season Tennessee scored on a punt return and kickoff return in the same game. Berry had an 88-yard kickoff return and Alvin Kamara scored on a 50-yard punt return in a 55-10 victory over Western Carolina.

Kentucky actually took an early lead on C.J. Johnson’s 77-yard fumble return after Marcus McWilson sacked Dobbs and knocked the ball loose. Towles’ 1-yard touchdown keeper on fourth-and-goal put the Wildcats back ahead 14-10 with 5:39 left in the first half.

From then on, it was all Tennessee.

“We have got to face adversity better,” Stoops said. “We have got to be able to handle it and manage the game and not let it get out of hand.”


AP College Football: collegefootball.ap.org

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