Matchups to watch
Kentucky offense vs. UT defense
Kentucky's bumbling offense is ranked 111th nationally in passing yards (170.0), 94th in rushing yards (136.2) and 116th in points per game (18.0). The Wildcats will meet their match in ineptitude this weekend. The Vols defense ranks 112th in passing (285.9), 92nd in rushing (190.2) and 111th in points allowed (37.4)
Outgoing Kentucky coach Joker Phillips vs. interim UT coach Jim Chaney
How many times in the 107 meetings between Tennessee and Kentucky did both head coaches know it was likely their last game at their respective schools? That'll be the case today. Phillips, already canned two weeks ago, is enjoying a going away tour of sorts. Chaney, meanwhile, replaced Derek Dooley this week and is unlikely to be retained by UT's new head coach.
UT RB Marlin Lane
Lost in the recent misery of Vols football has been the steady growth of Lane. The sophomore has averaged 6.7 yards per carry on 43 runs over the past three weeks. He's also emerged as a versatile weapon out of the backfield. His 14 receptions in November rank third on the team behind Justin Hunter (23) and Cordarrelle Patterson (15).
Kentucky LB Avery Williamson
A bright spot on a bad defense, Williamson has been credited with 60 — yes, 60 — tackles in Kentucky's past four games. The junior now leads the SEC in total tackles with 128 and ranks third nationally in tackles per game with 11.6. Last week, Williamson added two sacks to a 13-tackle performance in a win over Samford.
UT QB Tyler Bray
Many are still wondering whom some of those passes Bray threw were intended for last weekend. Against Vanderbilt, Bray never found his rhythm and was pulled twice for arrant passes and poor decisions. Chaney has said the junior will start today despite completing just 11 of 29 passes with two interceptions in the Vandy debacle.
UK's health report
Of all the problems Dooley had to tackle, a rash of injuries wasn't one of them. The same can't be said for Phillips. Kentucky lost starting quarterback Maxwell Smith (ankle), both its 2011 starting running back Josh Clemons (knee) and 2012 starter CoShik Williams (hip) and three different safeties to season-ending injuries this year.
Tweets of the week
ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell
"Counting a $5M buyout, Tennessee paid Derek Dooley $294,444 per game coached."
Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Mark Story
"If UK beats UT Saturday, Joker Phillips would become first Cats coach with multiple victories over Vols since Fran Curci (1976, '77, '81)"
UT senior CB Corey Alexander
I expect to see Neyland Stadium packed on Saturday! #seniornight
UT junior WR Cordarrelle Patterson
I am thankful for being home with my family on thanksgiving and also thankful for having the vol fans and all they support! #VolNation
Tennessee 31, Kentucky 30
What happens when two teams winless in the SEC and searching for head coaches meet in a half-empty, hundred-thousand seat stadium on a cool November afternoon? Magic. Vols win on a last-second field goal. Chaney gets carried off the field. Goal posts come down.