LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Joshua Dobbs had reason to smile when asked about his postgame soreness. He has an offseason to heal and a victory to look back on with satisfaction.

His Tennessee teammates had reason to feel the same way after a performance that was a long time coming.

Dobbs threw two touchdown passes and ran 40 yards for another, and the Volunteers broke a four-game losing streak with a 27-14 over rival Kentucky on Saturday night.

Tennessee (5-7, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) bounced back from its heartbreaking last-minute loss to Vanderbilt by scoring first-half touchdowns on long plays en route to its first victory since upsetting South Carolina in October. The Volunteers avoided their first eight-loss season in program history and improved to 76-24-9 against the Wildcats.

And after throwing five interceptions without a touchdown, Dobbs finally had touchdowns to celebrate. He hit Jason Croom for a 43-yard TD and a 7-yarder to Devrin Young, going on to finish 14 of 23 passing for 199 yards and an interception.

"I felt pretty good tonight," said Dobbs, who had been pressed into a starting role after injuries decimated Tennessee's quarterback depth.

"Receivers were doing a good job getting open and working their routes and working their defenders. And the (offensive) line was doing a great job giving me time to see the field tonight."

The O-line's work in the trenches also helped the Volunteers establish the run right away and open up things for the passing game. The unit helped tailback Rajion Neal cap his senior season with 1,124 yards by rushing for 134 on 20 carries including a 60-yard TD on the game's second play.

Tennessee finished the season by outgaining Kentucky 417-393 for its third-highest offensive output. A defense that recorded just one sack during the losing streak dropped Wildcats quarterback Maxwell Smith five times and stopped the Wildcats with a goal-line stand in the third quarter.

Defensive end Corey Miller, who entered the game with five career sacks, had a record 4.5 against Kentucky to pass Reggie White, who had four against The Citadel in 1983. The collective effort helped Tennessee break an 11-game SEC road losing streak and a 12-game road skid overall.

"I told them their character would be on display," first-year coach Butch Jones said. "The way we showed up, the way we performed tonight, that's great momentum moving forward and that's a tribute to our seniors. ... We're learning what it takes to play winning football."

Kentucky (2-10, 0-8) finished winless in the SEC in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1941-42.

Saturday marked the last time as the season finale for both schools. Kentucky will face in-state rival Louisville beginning next season with the Wildcats' border rivalry moving up in their schedule.

It was also Commonwealth Stadium's final game in its current configuration before work starts soon on a two-year renovation that will add suites and a recruiting lounge while modernizing other facilities.

Wildcats rookie coach Mark Stoops might need that long to continue his upgrade of Kentucky's on-field product. His first season ended in another 2-10 finish and extended their SEC losing streak to 16 games, capped by back-to-back league losses in which the Wildcats regressed in some aspects.

Smith, starting in place of injured Jalen Whitlow, completed 25 of 38 passes for 254 yards and touchdowns to Anthony Kendrick for 19 yards in the second quarter and 14 to Javess Blue in the fourth.

Dyshawn Mobley rushed 17 times for 143 yards for the Wildcats.

But those scores came after Tennessee took control with three big-play touchdowns.

"It kind of seems like that's the way most of the year went for us," Stoops said. "We had opportunities and didn't make them."

Tennessee got on the board on the game's second play as Neal, who entered the game 10 yards shy of 1,000 for the season, got that plus 50 more on his first carry around right end for the touchdown.

"That was the way to start off the game," Jones said.

Dobbs made it 14-0 two series later by completing his first TD pass of the season. But it almost became his sixth INT as Kentucky defender Jaleel Hytchye bobbled the ball twice before it bounced to the Volunteers' Jason Croom, who held on and jogged into the end zone for the 43-yard score.

Kentucky's Ashley Lowery picked off Dobbs in the second quarter, but the Wildcats couldn't take advantage after driving into Tennessee territory. Kentucky caught a break when Landon Foster's punt was downed at the 2.

Poor field position didn't faze Dobbs, who moved the Volunteers 98 yards and capped the drive by bursting through the middle for a 40-yard TD run.

"Toward the end (the soreness) started to catch up to me when I caught," Dobbs said, "but I was able to make to the end zone."