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Tennessee running back Ty Chandler (3) scores a touchdown as he's hit by a Kentucky defender during an NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Lexington, KY. (Wade Payne via AP Images)
Tennessee's offensive touchdown drought reached 15 quarters, but freshman running back Ty Chandler finally sparked the Volunteers' first end-zone celebration since last month.
In fact, he scored twice in the second quarter Saturday night at Kentucky.
Chandler's 1-yard run with 8:37 remaining before halftime was the Vols' first offensive TD since Quinten Dormady's 8-yard scoring pass to Tyler Byrd in the second quarter of a 17-13 win against UMass on Sept. 23. It was also their first red-zone TD in Southeastern Conference play.
For the first time in 15 quarters of football...
Tennessee's offense has scored a touchdown. https://t.co/Rdu3yGOmKx
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 29, 2017
Tennessee's last offensive TD in SEC play was Dormady's 28-yard to tight end Ethan Wolf against Florida on Sept. 16.
Chandler's TD run brought the Vols within 14-13 of Kentucky and followed three first-quarter drives deep into Kentucky territory, even reaching the 1 on their second drive. Tennessee settled for field goals on the first two attempts, while a third field-goal try missed.
Chandler added another 1-yard TD run late in the first half to get the Vols within 21-20. He finished with career highs of 22 carries for 120 yards, but Tennessee (3-5, 0-5 Southeastern Conference) didn't score a TD after halftime and lost 29-26.
Tennessee needed Chandler's running as it played without leading rusher John Kelly. The junior was suspended this week along with freshman linebacker Will Ignont after both players were cited on misdemeanor drug-related charges in Knoxville, Tennessee.
"I thought our running backs really stepped up," coach Butch Jones said. "I thought all three running backs really did a great job. I was really proud of them. Ty Chandler, Carlin Fild-aime, Tim Jordan, I thought all three of these individuals ran exceptionally hard tonight.”