Wildcats Look to Break Streak, Foil Tennessee's SEC Title Hopes

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky coach Rich Brooks has always said his top goal this season was for the Wildcats to be a factor in the Southeastern Conference race. This wasn't exactly what he had in mind.

Tennessee comes to Lexington Saturday needing a victory to clinch the SEC East and a berth in the title game against LSU. The Wildcats (7-4, 3-4) are out of the race but still playing to upgrade their bowl position and end a 22-game losing streak against the Volunteers.

"It's significant going into the last week of Kentucky football that we can determine who the SEC East champion will be," Brooks said.

Should the Wildcats win, the East title will go to Georgia, which beat Kentucky 24-13 Saturday. It was the lowest point total of the year for Andre Woodson and Kentucky's high-octane offense, which has struggled the past four weeks.

"There's no one we can't score against," receiver Keenan Burton said. "It's just about going out and executing."

Brooks says when he runs into fans on the street, they always have the same two demands: Beat Louisville and beat Tennessee. So far, the team is one for two.

The players say snapping the streak against the Vols is even more critical because they find its length embarassing.

"It's a rivalry, but when you've lost that many games, the rivalry kind of dies out," linebacker Braxton Kelley said. "It's just not cool, just not fun to be known as the team that has lost to a team 22 straight times."

If Kentucky loses, it could be a case of deja vu from last year. The Wildcats would end the regular season with the same number of wins, and could be headed back to Tennessee, to play again either in the Music City or Liberty Bowl.

That would be a disappointment, Brooks and his players say.

"It's a great sign that we're disappointed at this point with where we're finishing in the SEC East," Brooks said.

As for Woodson and the other seniors, Brooks says they should have no shame regardless of the outcome.

"Their legacy is as good as anything that's happened around here for the past 30 years," Brooks said. "Win or lose, it shouldn't tarnish it, but win, it should do a great deal."

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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