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Thirteen Tennessee-Kentucky Thoughts

What we take forward from the extended Tennessee beatdown of Kentucky.

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I couldn't find the orange blanket and hat picture in the editor, so just put it there mentally.
I couldn't find the orange blanket and hat picture in the editor, so just put it there mentally.
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

1. There's only so much you can say about a win where we put up a postgame recap nine minutes after the final snap. This was comprehensive; 50-16 isn't a misprint and it isn't telling you something you shouldn't know. This got nasty in a hurry.

2. If you missed the game: Josh Dobbs went for nearly 300 yards at 70% through the air plus another 50 on the ground while Jalen Hurd ran for 112. Jason Croom, Von Pearson, and Brian Randolph(!) had touchdowns, and Aaron Medley was good enough. Pearson in particular looked like a mini-Cordarrelle Patterson at times, leaving Kentucky defenders in his wake en route to two touchdowns. Randolph got a nice assist from a Kentucky WR on his INT return. Evan Berry might actually be a kickoff return man, he said quietly because it's weird to have a guy in Tennessee orange for more than a year who could be a plus KR.

3. If you slept through the fourth quarter, you didn't miss much. Nathan Peterman, bless his heart, airmailed a shallow pass on 3rd and short and that was it. Better hope Dobbs stays healthy. Other injury and suspension related notes: Mack Crowder is likely done for the season after he got his leg rolled and Randolph will miss the first half of the Missouri game after a targeting ejection.

4. Beyond the Crowder and Randolph news, there isn't much negative to report. Patrick Towles was dangerous on the ground early, but Tennessee adjusted well. Kentucky couldn't keep much going aside from Javess Blue, and by that I meant that his 131 receiving yards were literally half the offense. It looked like the bye week allowed the Tennessee defense to shift back into an attacking unit that doesn't do the bend-don't-break thing, as Kentucky pretty much punted early or got points while the game was still a game. In related news, Kentucky went 3-14 on third downs.

5. I wouldn't expect Dobbs to repeat the South Carolina numbers from here on out; he's not a runner primarily. 48 yards on the ground against only one sack is a great ratio from a QB playing behind a still-shaky line. Related: I would say Hurd's going to be really good, except he kind of already is, bowling through Kentucky defenders like it was going out of style. Related-related: Tennessee went 2-2 on fourth down conversions! Remember yesterday.

6. For a thin team, this was about the best possible outcome: get up big early and roll backups late in the game. With Marlin Lane relegated to spot duty at best (given his year so far, I have no problem with this), the onus is on Hurd and Dobbs to cover most of the ground attack as it gets significantly harder next week.

7. That's right: it's Missouri week. Mizzou is kind of bizarro Tennessee, with an excellent defense and an offense that seems to do their own version of break-don't-bend. I've seen pieces of three or four Missouri games this season, and best as I can figure, their plan is to get the game on their level with their front seven and beat you with experience. It's weird: Russell Hansbrough is the only guy on the offense who scares me, and yet they're in the driver's seat in the SEC East.

8  This is a dilemma for me: win and a red-hot Georgia team could rack up two more top-25 wins in as many games, including making things really awkward for the playoff committee. Win, and Tennessee gets bowl eligibility before an empty-the-bench game against Vanderbilt to close out the year. On the other hand: lose and Missouri gets to repeat the 2007 game we played with Georgia, winning the division while they wanted to play in the title game. Of course, that would also mean Missouri needs to win out, and I don't think Arkansas is done ruining seasons yet.

9. I mean, it's not that much of a dilemma. It'd be more of a dilemma if Missouri hadn't gotten utterly housed by Georgia when they played head-to-head. At least we beat Georgia in '07; you don't get to do the turn-around-and-run-backwards-to-the-finish-line thing when you got housed at home. Besides, 7-5 would be fun.

10. So it's come to this, again: Mizzou at home with a chance to lock up bowl eligibility early, at night no less. Win, and things get really fun around here for the next few weeks as the hype train kicks into high gear. Lose, and it sucks but it's not the end of the world; the monster at the end of this schedule is Karl Dorrell in a Grover mask. We've seen worse.

11. The monster in your backfield, by the way: his name is Derek Barnett and he just jumped Jadaveon Clowney's freshman SEC sack total. With Texas A&M also-stud Myles Garrett and his 11 sacks held out of the game yesterday, Missouri literally has not faced as disruptive a presence on the other side of the ball at Barnett, to say nothing of the renaissance of Curt Maggitt, who has 6 sacks in the last two games. (Of course, the monster in Tennessee's backfield is Shane Ray, who should give you nightmares. He'll probably get a couple of sacks and a handful of hurries. You've been warned.)

12. IMPORTANT NOTE FOR MATY MAUK: Cameron Sutton isn't any good. Just throw it at him like, 5-30 times. He'll be in man coverage; I'm sure Bud Sasser can beat him.

13. With that being said: be happy about yesterday. That kind of beatdown against a SEC opponent with a pulse has been a long time coming-the last one I can think of is the 2009 Georgia game, which not coincidentally was the last time any Tennessee QB had a YPA up around 11. Wins like this deserve to be enjoyed, so go for it. But it's Missouri week now, and it's about to get real fun around here.