KNOXVILLE - Check No. 5 off the list.
Win No. 6 will be the one the Tennessee football team put in the crosshairs back in the offseason.
Needing two wins in their final three games of the season, the Volunteers rode another big offensive performance led by quarterback Josh Dobbs and pounded reeling Kentucky 50-16 on a frigid afternoon at a sold-out Neyland Stadium to move within a victory of bowl eligibility Saturday.
"We're one win away, and we all know that," Dobbs said after piling up 345 yards, throwing three touchdown passes and running for another score. "We'll definitely enjoy this fifth win and get ready for the sixth. We've got two games to get six, and potentially seven, so we've just got to take it one game at a time."
As he's said before, Tennessee second-year coach Butch Jones noted that the stakes only grow with every win, and he'll likely push the playoff mindset like he did this past week and rely on the leadership the team is getting as the Vols continue to chase the program's first postseason berth since 2010.
"I keep telling you, this football team's different," he said. "Their whole mindset's different. I always gauge it by our players show up early to practice, and they're always late to leave, and that tells me we're building something special.
"We still have a long way to go, but I'm proud of our players."
Tennessee (5-5, 2-4 SEC) rolled up 511 yards -- giving the Vols 1,156 over the past two games -- against a Kentucky defense that was allowing 42 points per game during the four-game losing skid that followed a 5-1 start to the season.
The Vols scored 30 straight points after the Wildcats (5-6, 2-6) took the opening drive down the field for a field goal and led 33-13 at halftime. The 33 points were the most in two quarters for the Vols in an SEC game since they led Vanderbilt 41-0 in 2003.
The 95 points the Vols have scored the past two games are the most in consecutive games against SEC opponents since beating Mississippi State 59-21 and Vanderbilt 48-0 in consecutive games in 2003.
The success has been impressive, and it's been a big confidence boost to a group that struggled through a three-game stretch in October, when the Vols didn't score a touchdown against Florida or Ole Miss.
"It's out the roof," left tackle Kyler Kerbyson said. "We feel like we can't be stopped. Whatever need be, we'll go out there and do it, and that confidence really shows while we're out there.
"In the earlier weeks of the season we didn't have good enough confidence to be able to play with anybody, but now we think we can."
The Vols were just 117th in the FBS averaging 4.77 yards per play, but they averaged 7 yards per snap in the first three quarters Saturday before extended garbage time in the fourth quarter.
Receiver Von Pearson took a shovel pass 21 yards and later caught a 16-yard score, Jason Croom took a bubble screen 52 yards to open the second half and three tight ends combined for five catches for 75 yards as Tennessee notched its largest margin of victory against the Wildcats since a 59-21 win in 2000.
"I feel sorry for Missouri," Pearson said with a grin as the Tigers' game at Texas A&M on Saturday night played on a television across from him. "We're hot right now. We're ready to explode.
"When Missouri watches film, they're going to know that we're coming to ball. When they come down here, it's not going to be no easy win for them. We're going to come out there and do our thing."
As long as Dobbs continues to do what he does, the Vols can continue to pile up yards and put up points. The sophomore made plays with his legs again and was turnover-free.
"We're clicking on all cylinders, which is very good," Dobbs said, "and we definitely need to keep up this and stay on the same page for the rest of the season."
Freshman tailback Jalen Hurd chipped in 118 yards on 24 carries and a third-quarter touchdown to register his third 100-yard game of the season, the most by a Tennessee true freshman since Jamal Lewis had seven such games in 1997.
"He's getting some opportunities and some creases, and Jalen earns every yard that he gets," Coach Jones said. "He's running behind his pads, and (we're) very, very excited about him. He's continued to improve week in and week out.
"He's proven his durability, and he's added a whole other element to our offense."
Tennessee's defense got back on track after allowing 1,477 yards in the previous three games by limited Kentucky's big plays, forcing the Wildcats to convert just three times on 14 third downs, racking up five sacks and coming up with two interceptions, including Brian Randolph's interception-return touchdown in the first quarter.
"I think it was good for us to get back to our style of play, because the past two games, we struggled," freshman defensive end Derek Barnett said. "I think today we corrected a bunch of things. We still have a few mistakes, but we'll go back on film and critique ourselves."
After all, the Vols need only one more win.
"We've got to enjoy tonight, and when we come in tomorrow, it's Missouri week," linebacker/defensive end Curt Maggitt said. "It starts with our preparation, like I said, one game at a time.
"We can't get too excited or too fond of ourselves from a little bit of success."
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