Kentucky’s Danny Trevathan exhaled late Saturday afternoon and became the unofficial spokesman for the entire Big Blue Nation.
“It was about time,” Trevathan exclaimed. “We’re celebrating two things today. The streak is dead, and this is a new beginning for Kentucky football.
“These guys can now go on about their business and not have to worry about a streak that lasted 26 years. That’s crazy … 26 years. I mean, a lot of marriages don’t last that long.”
It wasn’t a memorable season by any means for the Wildcats, but nobody’s complaining in the Bluegrass State about how it ended.
For the first time since 1984, Kentucky can celebrate a football victory over Tennessee after holding off the Vols in a 10-7 slugfest at Commonwealth Stadium.
Coming in, Tennessee had won 26 consecutive games in the series, which was the longest streak by one conference opponent against another in major college football.
Trevathan, playing his final game at Kentucky, capped a splendid career with a game he said he’ll never forget.
It wasn’t so much what it meant to him, Trevathan said, but what it meant to his teammates and coaches he leaves behind.
In fact, prior to the game, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips had Trevathan speak to the team in the locker room.
The senior linebacker didn’t hold anything back.
“I just told them that they would all be my brothers until the end,” said Trevathan, who finished his season with 143 total tackles to lead the SEC in that department for the second year in a row. “It had been a rough year for all of us, but I wanted them all to know where I stood and that we were going to stay the course and go out and play our best game.
“I love these guys, and they’re going to carry this thing on now. They don’t have that weight of that 26-game streak on their shoulders any more. It’s gone and not coming back.
“It’s a new beginning for our program, and I’m glad I could be here with these guys to see it end.”
Kentucky snapped the streak with senior receiver Matt Roark going the whole way at quarterback and attempting just 6 passes. The Wildcats’ regular quarterbacks – freshman Maxwell Smith and junior Morgan Newton – were banged up and unable to play.
Whereas Roark wasn’t going to throw it, he finished with 124 rushing yards, and the Wildcats didn’t turn the ball over a single time.
Kentucky (5-7, 2-6 SEC) won’t be going to a bowl game for the first time since 2005, but Trevathan made a plea to fans to stay behind Phillips and the players.
“They’re going to get it done here, and they’re going to keep moving forward,” Trevathan said. “I hope everybody understands that. Having this streak behind us will help.
“My work here is done, but these players and coaches will always be my band of brothers. I’m just glad they won’t have to answer any more questions around here about losing 26 straight games to Tennessee.
“It’s time we start our own streak.”