LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Erik Ainge passed for 221 yards and two
touchdowns Saturday as Tennessee avoided finishing last in the SEC
East with a 27-8 win over Kentucky.
With the victory, Tennessee (5-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference)
ended a disappointing season by extending the second-longest active
winning streak in an uninterrupted series between major college
opponents to 21 games. Notre Dame's 42-game winning streak over
Navy is the longest. Kentucky (3-8, 2-6) hasn't beaten Tennessee
Tennessee began the season ranked No. 3 but fell out of bowl
consideration last Saturday with a home loss to Vanderbilt, ending
the Volunteers' 22-game winning streak over their in-state
opponent. The Vols, however, haven't lost to both Vanderbilt and
Kentucky in the same season since 1964.
Kentucky had been competitive against Tennessee the past two
seasons, losing 20-7 and 37-31, but the Wildcats squandered their
chances this time. Three times the Wildcats had possession inside
the Tennessee 10, but came away with only two field goals.
Ainge made his fifth start of the season and went the distance,
completing 17 of 25 passes and setting season highs for
completions, yards and touchdowns. His first-half touchdown throws
of 50 yards to Robert Meachem and 32 yards to Chris Hannon, which
staked the Vols to a 17-6 halftime lead, were Ainge's two longest
completions of the season.
The lead could've been larger, but Tennessee had two turnovers
in its own territory and had two long touchdown plays by tailback
Arian Foster -- a 55-yard run and a 78-yard catch -- called back
because of penalties. Foster finished with 114 yards on 26 carries
and also had five catches for 44 yards.
Kentucky lost starting quarterback Andre Woodson in the second
quarter to a shoulder injury, and his backup, freshman Curtis
Pulley, fumbled three times, losing one, and threw three
interceptions, one of which Tennessee defensive tackle Justin
Harrell returned 7 yards for a third-quarter touchdown.
Pulley finished 23-of-33 passing for 155 yards.
Kentucky opened the second half by driving from its own 20 to
the Tennessee 9, but Pulley fumbled and Tennessee's Kevin Simon
recovered. The Wildcats made only one other trip into Tennessee
territory and scored their only second-half points on a
Ainge's touchdown pass to Meachem came courtesy of a Kentucky
error, as Meachem caught a short pass and went untouched into the
end zone after two Kentucky defenders missed potential tackles.
Kentucky's Draak Davis forced and recovered a fumble by
Tennessee punt returner Jonathan Hefney at the Tennessee 9, but the
Wildcats lost four yards on three plays and settled for a 31-yard
field goal by Taylor Begley.
Kentucky lost the ball on downs at the Tennessee 41 late in the
first quarter, but Trey Mielsch recovered a fumble by Ainge at the
Vols' 30. Again, Kentucky couldn't record a first down, and Begley
missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt.
Tennessee went up 14-3 on its next series, as Ainge connected
with Hannon for a touchdown. Begley added a 25-yard field goal
Tennessee kicker James Wilhoit had field goals of 31 and 40