- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Kentucky's Joker Phillips went out a winner Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium.
The players carried Phillips off on their shoulders following Kentucky's 34-3 win over Samford, snapping the Wildcats' eight-game losing streak.
Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart announced two weeks ago that Phillips would not return as coach, and his players urged him to finish out the season. Phillips played at Kentucky and was also an assistant coach at his alma mater before replacing Rich Brooks as head coach following the 2009 season. Phillips has been a part of the program in some capacity for more than 20 years.
It's been a rough couple of (football) seasons in the Bluegrass, for sure. But Phillips has been as classy as they come and deserved to go out a winner at home, even if it was over an FCS team.
The Wildcats (2-9, 0-7) rushed for 342 yards -- including a career-high 123 yards by Raymond Sanders -- and scored their first defensive touchdown of the season when Tristian Johnson returned a fumble 25 yards for a touchdown.
Kentucky closes the season next week at Tennessee in a matchup of teams winless in the SEC.
3hJosh Moyer and Dan Murphy