Pick-sixes spark Kentucky’s rout of No. 18 Tennessee

Kelvin Joseph and Jamin Davis returned interceptions for touchdowns in the second quarter Saturday and sparked Kentucky to a 34-7 romp at No. 18 Tennessee, the Wildcats’ first win in 36 years in Knoxville.

Kentucky (2-2, 2-2 SEC) won its second straight game by converting three Volunteers interceptions into 17 points in less than seven minutes. It was the Wildcats’ most lopsided win in the series since 1935.

Joseph jumped on a telegraphed pass on an out route from quarterback Jarrett Guarantano and raced 41 yards down the left sideline for a 7-0 lead only 2:13 into the second quarter. On Tennessee’s next possession, Guarantano forced a throw over the middle that Davis snagged and returned 85 yards to make it a two-touchdown game.

The Volunteers (2-2, 2-2) switched to backup quarterback J.T. Shrout on their next possession, but he also tossed an interception on his first pass. The Wildcats turned it into a 30-yard field goal by Matt Ruffolo at the 6:18 mark to up the margin to 17-0.

Guarantano returned on Tennessee’s next possession and led a 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 4-yard run by Ty Chandler with 1:36 left in the half. That was it for the Volunteers’ offense. They managed only 84 yards in the second half, most of it on their final drive with second-teamers dotting the field for Kentucky.

Terry Wilson increased the Wildcats’ lead to 24-7 on a 1-yard touchdown pass to Allen Dailey that finished a drive of nearly six minutes. Ruffolo chipped in a 27-yard field goal at the 1:02 mark of the third quarter.

Chris Rodriguez finished the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run with 10:54 left in the game. Rodriguez led Kentucky’s rushing attack with 73 yards on 13 carries, while Wilson hit on 12 of 15 passes for 101 yards.

Eric Gray rushed 24 times for 128 yards for Tennessee. Guarantano completed 14 of 21 passes for only 88 yards before being benched again in the fourth quarter for third-stringer Harrison Bailey.