No. 5 Tennessee 59, Kentucky 31
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Peyton Manning bolstered his bid for the Heisman Trophy, passing for a school-record 523 yards and five touchdowns Saturday to lead No. 5 Tennessee to a 59-31 victory over Kentucky.
Jamal Lewis scored four touchdowns, helping Manning and the Volunteers hold off Kentucky’s Tim Couch.
Couch broke his school mark with 476 passing yards, completing 35-of-50 for two touchdowns. He set a school mark with 13 straight completions and also was intercepted three times before a record Commonwealth Stadium crowd of 61,076.
Manning connected on 25-of-35 passes. He also completed a school-record 12 in a row in helping Tennessee (9-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) beat Kentucky (5-6, 2-6) for the 13th consecutive time.
Lewis rushed 21 times for 128 yards and became the first true freshman in Tennessee history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
Lewis had a 21-yard TD run and a pair of 1-yard scores, and also scored on a 50-yard pass from Manning. Lewis has run for 1,021 yards this season.
Couch set the SEC single-season records for passing yardage with 3,884 yards, total offense with 3,759, and total offensive plays with 613.
Besides the scoring pass to Lewis, Manning had TD strikes of 59, 66 and 31 yards to Marcus Nash and 17 yards to Andy McCullough in tying a Tennessee record for scoring passes.
The teams combined for 1,329 yards, including 999 through the air.
Tennessee, leading 24-21 at the half, took control of the game in the third quarter behind Manning and Lewis.
Three plays into the third quarter, Manning read a Kentucky blitz and passed to Lewis, who rambled 50 yards untouched to give Tennessee a 31-21 lead at 13:28.
Kentucky was able to drive to the Tennessee 11 on the ensuing possession, but Derek Homer slipped on a running play on a fourth-and-2 to turn the ball back over to the Volunteers.
Seven plays later, which included Manning completions of 21 yards to Nash, 29 to Shawn Bryson and 25 to Lewis, Tennessee went up 38-21 on Lewis’ 1-yard run for the right side at 5:17.
Kentucky managed a 29-yard field goal from Seth Hanson on its next possession to cut the margin to 38-24. But three plays later, Manning passed 31 yards for a 45-24 advantage at 2:25.
Couch connected on a 37-yard TD pass to Homer, giving Kentucky its only lead at 7-0.
Anthony White added two 1-yard scoring runs for Kentucky, which needed a victory in its regular-season finale to become eligible for a bowl. Homer, a freshman, rushed 18 times for a season-high 137 yards.