Sunday, November 25

Tennessee-Kentucky: This Might Be Interesting

Once again, I catch this game halfway in – and it shouldn’t be any surprise I’m doing a chronicle of this. We’ll pick this one up at the beginning of the second quarter; I did get to see Daniel Lincoln miss a 47-yarder with Kentucky taking over shortly after. It’s currently 14-0; apparently it’s been mostly well-played with a couple of big mistakes on Kentucky’s end leading to the score.

A special shout-out goes – once again – to the cable company. Apparently there are two different CBS affiliates here; who knew? Not me, that’s for sure.

2:20 pm: Eric Berry just misses a beautiful INT. He’s been a real surprise and ball hawk this year; by this time next year, Berry should be at worst All-SEC. He’s leading the NCAA in interception return yards as a true freshman.

2:25 pm: I’m a little disoriented by the location of the main camera in this game. It’s hard to describe, but the way I’m thinking of is it’s too low to the field. There’s not a clear view of the entire field from sideline to sideline, so there’s a distinct feel of …well, a high school game. It’s strange. It’s not nearly as bad as the middle-school camerawork of the UConn-Stanford women’s basketball tilt a few days ago (no, I didn’t watch that much of it; I have my dignity at stake here, y’know), but it’s still odd.

2:30 pm: Tennessee is doing an excellent job of getting pressure on Andre Woodson. He’s still completing his passes, but he’s taking a beating. Speaking of that, Steve Johnson hauls in a TD pass on a fade over Elix Wilson; 14-7 Tennessee. I’m getting flashbacks to the Tennessee/Vandy game from last week. Maybe I should watch something else.

2:32 pm: Virginia’s fan base is way louder than I expected; I can actually almost make out the words they’re singing. It’s 23-21 Virginia Tech, but Virginia did just score.

2:35 pm: Lucas Taylor hauls in a 36-yard completion after possibly stepping out of bounds; it was ruled as a force-out, which isn’t reviewable. Still, that’s yet another big play for Tennessee and did a good job of quickly shutting up the Kentucky crowd, who need a reason to make some noise. RB Arian Foster follows that up with a run for a first down, which we don’t get to see a measurement on thanks to the line judge standing in the way of the camera. That’s coming out of his paycheck.

2:39 pm: Lincoln puts a 45-yarder just inside the uprights. It’s 17-7 Tennessee. That last drive stalled after the aforementioned first down thanks to good penetration on first down which basically killed the drive.

2:43 pm: Kentucky opts for a rekick after Britton Colquitt knocks it out of bounds. Not sure I think this is a good idea, but let’s see. Here’s the kick … line drive kick ends up allowing Kentucky to retain possession at their own 38, which: whatever.

2:47 pm: Ricardo Kemp comes completely unblocked on the blind side for a sack to kill the drive. Kentucky will – possibly ironically – punt from the 35. Rogan muffs the punt but somehow manages to recover the ball.

3:00 pm: Tom Masthay (Kentucky’s punter) pulls an audible in the middle of the punt and ends up running for a first down. The Steve Beurlein doesn’t think it was planned, and I actually kind of agree with him. If it wasn’t intentional, it was the greatest sell job I’ve seen. He took one hell of a shot, too, but that’ll be the only contact he’ll face all game.

3:02 pm: That gutsy fake punt wasn’t for anything; Masthay has to punt again after they don’t make a first down. Meanwhile, VT has pulled up 30-21 and CBS flashes a graphic that says Virginia’s the luckiest team in 1-A this season (to the surprise of nobody). PBP guy then confuses Dicky Lyons, Jr. (who’s wearing blue and is white) with Lucas Taylor (who’s wearing white and orange and isn’t white). Way to go!

3:06 pm: I’ve never seen the “squat behind the WR to trip him up” defense before Chris Cook (Virginia CB) tried it. How’d these guys win 9 games playing that defense? That didn’t even work on the playground.

3:08 pm: Kentucky pulls a great pick off a tipped pass into an interception. Of course, we don’t know who tipped the ball, but Paul Warford picked it off. We see the replay about 12 times before we get the names. It was an excellent play. Not an excellent play: Andre Woodson throwing a pick to defensive lineman Xavier Mitchell on the next play. It was a Neil O’Donnell-style pick, too. Tennessee ball at the Kentucky 20 with an opportunity to put at least three on the board before halftime. It wouldn’t be a huge deal to get an additional three on the board, as it’d still be a two-TD margin, but every little bit helps.

3:12 pm: Josh Hancock with a great play to turn the turnover into 7 quick points. It’s now 24-7 Tennessee just before the half.

3:17 pm: Lones Seiber misses a 51-yard FG after an idiotic late hit penalty against Elix Wilson. Tennessee will go into the half up by 17, but they won’t get the ball to open the second half (I don’t think). If they do get the ball to open the second half – or at least score first – that’ll probably close the game if they can put a TD on the board. Kentucky should come out with more motivation than they had the first half; they played the first 30 minutes on a tryptophan-induced haze.

3:20 pm: Virginia Tech will carry the ACC Coastal. I’m not saying that they’ll have a great shot at the BCS Championship Game (they don’t), but if they win next week I’ve got to think they’d have a better shot at going than Georgia, as they at least won their conference. Meanwhile, Sean Glennon is compared to Ol’ Calm-Eyes, but he doesn’t wear the same number as Derek Jeter. He does, however, get pasted after he kneels down, which was a stupid penalty – but at least the game was decided.

3:31 pm: I’m changing to UConn/West Virginia as my secondary game; that’s partially because I’m in Connecticut and partially because it’s an important game. I’m immediately surprised that Slaton’s not even averaging 100 yards a game, but I’m not surprised that we’re getting the 12th-string announcers for the game. I shouldn’t complain too much (at least it’s not Maryland), but we’re also getting the 12th-string production team. I’m going to have to watch something in the next two hours that looks like it has solid production values, because I’m not getting it here.

3:37 pm: Good god, there is some legendary hair in the stands at Morgantown today. Do they know the 80’s have been over for a while? Someone should tell them, but I know Mullet Watch is going to have a blast today. On the field, UConn commits a penalty on the opening kick (block in the back) and gets the ball on their 7. Ouch. Bad sign: the announcers don’t figure out that “half the distance to the goal” means the penalty was committed inside the 20. Thank god the other game’s started – and Kentucky will have the ball to open that second half.

3:41 pm: Jerod Mayo with a blocked pass on a blitz. He’s really made strides since I first saw him play last year and has now progressed passed “good” to “solid defender”. He had 15 tackles last week and he’s only a junior. He should be back next year, as he has a chance of becoming a 1st or 2nd-round pick after a solid senior campaign.

3:45 pm: Kentucky has finally decided to adopt a quick-drop passing scheme. This type of attack is hard to stop when it’s done well, but the cost a team pays for that is it’ll take a lot of time off the clock. That’s also coupled with the need to stop Tennessee on a couple of drives quickly. PBP guy again confuses Tennessee for Kentucky, so we’re getting the Bang-Up Announcing Squad for two games up here today.

3:50 pm: Dicky Lyons, Jr. hauls in a nice TD pass. It’s 24-14 Tennessee, but Dicky still has the stupidest first name in the game.

3:56 pm: Tennessee goes three-and-out, and I ratchet up the “uh-oh” meter a few notches. We’re on Yellow Alert now, even though it’s a 10-point game.

4:01 pm: Tennessee does manage to hold serve, forcing two bad passes by Woodson (both too far to the outside), killing the nice first down run. Mastany with a booming punt sticks the Vols deep in their own territory.

4:08 pm: Tennessee doesn’t do much with their possession; it’s a bunch of runs and a little pass to the sideline. They get a first down but send it back to Kentucky deep in their own territory. It’s still Yellow Alert.

4:12 pm: Woodson gets stripped on a sack; the ball got popped out on the sack. It’s Tennessee’s ball – maybe. The play’s under review, but we’ll see how it turns out. It was a pretty clean fumble.

4:14 pm: The play’s upheld. No real surprise there.

4:17 pm: Brad Cottam pulls in a TD pass off a delayed fade. It’s 31-14 Vols, and I can’t really describe how nice that play unfolded. Foster did a fake leap, but the primary option – Lucas Taylor – was covered, so Cottam released really late, forcing Ainge to throw back on his line of movement in order to complete the pass.

4:21 pm: Jacob Tamme hauls in a fantastic catch at the Tennessee 38. Eric Berry got to – and caught – the ball first, but Tamme came over the top and wrested the ball from Berry’s hands. That may bring Kentucky back into the game, at least emotionally.

4:24 pm: Fittingly, Tamme also hauls in the TD pass. It’s 31-21 Tennessee with 0:01 left in the 3rd quarter.

4:34 pm: Javar Lindley picks off an Ainge pass inside Tennessee territory. It’s safe to say at this point that all the momentum is Kentucky’s, so unless Tennessee can wrest a big play or two, it’s going to be ugly.

4:36 pm: Does an incompletion, stopped run, and a sack count as a big play? I say no; it’s Tennessee’s ball at their 15, so the turnover doesn’t directly hurt them.

4:39 pm: I’m trying to figure out how much time the Vols can safely burn off the clock on their drives even if they don’t score. My guess is about 4-5 minutes, but there’s also a direct relationship between how many yards they gain and how much time comes off the clock. Foster seems committed to prove me wrong, as two of his last three runs have been over 10 yards. Of course, his third one was out-of-bounds, which: bad.

4:43 pm: We’re now down under 10 minutes, and Tennessee has attempted only one pass on this drive; that was an outlet to Foster. Time-wise, it has been a decent drive, but the Vols are stuffed on 3rd and 2. Fulmer decides to call timeout with the ball on the UK 33.

4:47 pm: Lucas Taylor muffs an easy catch on 4th down, turning the ball over on downs. I can’t fault the call that much, as Taylor had the ball bounce off his hands. Still, at this point I’m just looking for a countdown on the clock. Scoring is optional, but there’s still a lot of time left.

4:49 pm: I’m taking back that last sentence. I think another TD is going to be needed the way the Wildcats are moving the ball. We’re past halfway through the 4th quarter now, but there’s a lot of time left.

4:50 pm: Woodson completes a dump to Rafael Little for a big gain, but Robert Ayers knocks the hell out of Woodson. He won’t be out for more than a play, though – but man, that was one killer shot.

4:53 pm: Steve Johnson with another TD catch to cut the margin to 31-28. That was a complete groaner on my end; he was smart enough to come back to the ball while Vinson wasn’t.

4:55 pm: Bill Callahan (Nebraska) and Ed Orgeron (Ole Miss) both got canned today. Neither was really that much of a surprise; Callahan never got traction and Orgeron never had realistic expectations from the alumni and management.

4:58 pm: Tennessee goes three-and-out. On a side note, I ended up putting on a sweatshirt back when the Vols were up by 17; that sweatshirt has come off now.

5:04 pm: Ricardo Kemp is going to end up getting a game ball; thanks to a vicious hit on Jacob Tamme by Jerod Mayo, Kemp ends up with an INT and Tennessee ends up with the ball in Kentucky territory.

5:06 pm: Kentucky calls their first time-saving TO. Arian Foster is up over 100 yards on the game, but Tennessee now faces a 3rd and 6. There’s 3:43 left in the game; a first down here would be huge, otherwise the Vols will definitely need a stop. Obviously, a TD would pretty much seal the game for the Vols, but one thing at a time.

5:08 pm: Colquitt’s out to punt after Austin Rogers misses a first-down catch. It’s nothing more than a pooch (UK ball at their 9), but it’s a marked difference between what Fulmer did when in the same position last time; he went for it, but got stuffed. This time, the Wildcats have to drive about 60 yards. Here’s your timeout update: both teams have 2 TOs.

5:10 pm: ANOTHER misnamed player; this time PBP guy confuses Andre Woodson for Erik Ainge. Is Harry Caray’s reanimated corpse broadcasting the game and nobody’s noticed?

5:13 pm: Tamme is killing the Volunteers today; he just had another ridiculous catch to convert a third down. Jerod Mayo’s shaken up on the next play, forcing a de facto timeout.

5:14 pm: Xavier Mitchell is shaken up on the next play, but there’s also a penalty: holding on Kentucky.

5:16 pm: Mayo is back, stopping Rafael Little on a sneak run up the middle. Kentucky has used their second TO: it’s 2nd and 9 with 1:18 left on the Tennessee 46.

5:19 pm: A tipped screen pass gives the Wildcats 2nd and 10 from the Tennessee 32. There’s 44 seconds left, but a false start penalty gives the Wildcats 2nd and 15 instead. Whoops. Still, I’d be lying if I felt safe here; this game is at worst going to overtime.

5:21 pm: Kentucky’s going to win this game.

6:47 pm: So yeah, I blacked out for a while there. Part of me wishes that I was actually chronicling the four overtimes because they were nuts. Still, the end of the game seemed fitting; the defensive line’s play had improved as the game wore on and Woodson was shut down. I’d be lying if I expected Tennessee to play in the SEC Championship game before the season started. At this point, they’re playing with house money. I can’t see Tennessee being favored in the game next week; nobody’s beaten LSU in regulation this year and that was one hell of a battle. On the other hand, Tennessee did go 2-0 in teams that LSU lost to, but that cuts both ways; LSU went 2-0 against teams they played that Tennessee lost to.

You want feedback and analysis? I don’t have it. I was at best barely conscious. Enforcing a personal foul to start the 4th OT when it wasn’t enforced to start the 3rd OT was bullshit, but that’s as far as I got.

I won’t get a chance to see the Missouri / Kansas game unless I head somewhere, which is frustrating. I’ll see them next week.