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'You don't lose to Kentucky': Vols trying to avoid back-to-back losses to the Wildcats

Tennessee hasn't lost to Kentucky in consecutive years since 1975 and 1976. Players spoke on Tuesday about the importance of this matchup.
Credit: AP
Tennessee defensive back Alontae Taylor (2) plays against South Carolina during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football looks to avoid back-to-back losses to Kentucky when they take on the No. 18 Wildcats this Saturday.

It's something the Vols haven't done since 1975-1976, as they have won nearly 70 percent of the 116 meetings between these two teams. Tennessee is 81-26-9 all-time against Kentucky.

Last season, Tennessee got beaten handily by Kentucky at Neyland Stadium 34-7. It left a bad taste in current players' mouths. They've moved on, but are looking for some revenge.

"One thing I was told when I came in is, 'You don't lose to Kentucky,'" Vols cornerback Alontae Taylor said in a press conference on Tuesday. "I was watching the video last night of the goal line stand (in 2019) against Kentucky and it kind of gave me chills. That's who we are. This game is personal."

One of his teammates agreed.

"You want to win these battles with Kentucky," Vols running back Jabari Small said. "It's a big deal defending our state and the border so I'm excited for the game."

The Wildcats are coming off a 31-17 loss to Mississippi State last weekend. Tennessee is coning off a bye week following a loss to No. 3 Alabama.

Taylor said they're ready to bounce back and finish the season strong.

"We're ready to play and we're ready to show the world that teams can actually have success after a bye week." he said. "You know a lot of teams come off a bye week and fall off a little bit, but not us."

   

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