Tennessee Stat Book
Watching with Ward
Randall Cobb was one of the last Kentucky players out of the visitors' locker room Saturday afternoon at Neyland Stadium.
His team had just lost to Tennessee for the 26th consecutive time.
Cobb, the former Alcoa High School star who was spurned by UT until late in the recruiting process, was supposed to be the guy who could end that burdensome losing steak to the Vols.
He tried. Gosh, how he tried.
Cobb caught 13 passes for 116 yards, but the Wildcats frittered away a promising start on their way to a 24-14 loss to the Vols.
Standing in a dark, damp hallway outside the locker room, Cobb was left pondering the defeat and his future as he fielded questions from reporters.
His future seems destined for the NFL draft, but Cobb, a junior, could play for the Wildcats again next year.
So the big question: Will you stay or will you go?
"I don't know," Cobb said. "Now that this game's over, I'm going to go back and do my research and do all my homework I can to see what's best for me. I've got to be a little selfish now and make a decision that's best for me, but my heart's always going to be in (Kentucky) blue and I'm going to do what's best for me, and if that's coming back, I would love to play another year here."
No doubt the Wildcats would love to see him back. Cobb can play everything for the Wildcats (and does) - quarterback, receiver, punt returner, kick returner, even holder for extra points and field goals.
Kentucky receivers coach Tee Martin, who was UT's quarterback on the 1998 national championship team, said he wants what is best for Cobb.
"We'd love to have him back," Martin said. "I'm going to recruit him as hard as any other recruits that we have out there for the signing class because I want him back, but at the same time he has to make a decision that's best for his future and his family."
Early in Saturday's game, there was reason to think Kentucky might end the losing streak against UT.
Kentucky held UT to a field-goal attempt after Da'Rick Rogers returned the opening kick 78 yards, and Vols kicker Daniel Lincoln missed a 28-yard attempt.
The Wildcats' first play was a 7-yard pass from Mike Hartline to tight end Tyler Robinson, a 2010 graduate of Alcoa who got his first start of the season Saturday.
Kentucky drove down the field and took a 7-0 lead on Derrick Locke's 17-yard run. During the drive, Cobb ran a reverse for 11 yards, caught a 12-yard pass on third-and-6, and Robinson caught a 14-yard screen pass.
UT ran three plays and punted.
The Wildcats drove to the Vols' 1, where they had first-and-goal, but Locke fumbled and UT linebacker Nick Reveiz recovered in the end zone.
UT drove for a touchdown and tied the game.
"This has been happening to us all season," Cobb said, "not just with (UT), turning the ball over at critical times and not executing."
Cobb also lost a fumble after catching a 7-yard pass late in the second quarter, but UT's Tyler Bray threw an interception on the next play.
By then, though, there was a feeling that Kentucky had blown its chance with Locke's fumble at the 1.
As he jogged off the field after the game, Cobb's emotions swirled in his head, and he was soon asked by a reporter if he wanted another shot at UT next year.
"I would. Who wouldn't?" Cobb said. "I haven't beat 'em yet, and that's something I'm going to be thinking about over the next couple of weeks."
Robinson's Day: Robinson finished with four catches for 25 yards, including a 2-yard TD catch.
"It hasn't hit me yet," Robinson said of the TD. "It probably will later tonight."
Robinson will do his best to break the UT jinx the next three years.
"It's ridiculous, 26 years in a row," Robinson said. "You always want to beat them. I'm glad I've got three more years to actually get a chance to do so."
Dave Link is a freelance contributor.