KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jalin Hyatt caught five passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 3 Tennessee to a 44-6 victory over No. 19 Kentucky Saturday night.
Hyatt broke the school record for touchdown receptions in a season with 14 en route to setting up the Volunteers (8-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) for their showdown with No. 1 Georgia next Saturday. Tennessee is off to its best start since winning the national championship in 1998.
The Wildcats (5-3, 2-3) struggled in the border rivalry battle. Will Levis, projected as one of the top quarterbacks in the upcoming NFL draft, had limited success while being intercepted three times.
The Kentucky offense had just 1 of 6 third-down conversions in the first half and finished with 2 of 13. Levis had 16 completions for 98 yards.
Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker completed 19 of 25 passes for 245 yards and three scores. Hooker also ran for a TD.
The Vols led 27-6 at halftime. Hyatt had three receptions for 91 yards, two of them were for touchdowns.
FACTS & STATS
Tennessee S Jaylen McCollough (aggravated assault arrest) and WR Cedric Tillman (high ankle sprain) both returned to action after missing multiple games. McCollough’s attorney has filed a motion arguing self-defense. … Hooker’s 55-yard scoring pass to Hyatt early in the game was his 20th straight game with a TD pass, breaking his own school record. … Each team missed a PAT in the first half — Kentucky’s Matt Ruffolo had his kick blocked and, after a 10-yard penalty, Tennessee’s Chase McGrath was wide right. … Vols S Doneiko Slaughter got his first career interception on a tipped ball in the red zone. Levis made a TD-saving tackle 48 yards later. He got his second pick in the third quarter. … The Wildcats’ streak of 11 games holding opponents to 24 points or fewer came to an end. … Kentucky, ranked 115th in sacks yielded in the NCAA, gave up four, including two in the first drive of the second half. … Wildcat LB DeAndre Square (ankle) was injured early, came back, but missed the entire second half. … Tennessee’s 395 points in eight games is the third most in SEC history. … Scoring more than 30 points in 11 straight games is a Tennessee school record.
Kentucky: The Wildcats’ defense couldn’t slow down the Tennessee offense. Other than Georgia, there are three very winnable games left on the Kentucky schedule.
Tennessee: After beating Alabama a couple weeks ago, the Vols had little left to prove. Even so, they showed they are ready for the showdown with Georgia.
Kentucky: The Wildcats are on the road at Missouri next Saturday, then finish the season at home with Vanderbilt, Georgia and Louisville.
Tennessee: The Vols will have a big-time opportunity next Saturday when the travel to Athens for a shot at top-ranked Georgia, the defending national champion.