Hartline's senior year stacks up well against ex-UK stars

Hartline producing noble numbers in last year as Cat

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistOctober 23, 2010 

For most of his career, it seemed as though the University of Kentucky quarterback's legal name was "the much-maligned Mike Hartline." But that was then; this is now.

In his final year wearing UK blue, Hartline has put together a body of work through seven games that compares favorably to his more celebrated predecessors Tim Couch, Jared Lorenzen and Andre Woodson in their final seasons at UK.


Senior season: 2007 Team record: 6-1

Numbers: Completed 64.2 percent of his passes (156 of 243) for 1,786 yards with 21 touchdown passes and four interceptions.

Best moment: Fired a 57-yard TD pass — his fourth of the game — to Steve Johnson with 27 seconds left to lift UK over No. 9 Louisville 40-34.

Worst moment: When Kentucky traveled to Columbia to face South Carolina, the Cats carried a top-10 ranking (No. 8) into a game for the first time since 1977. But Woodson lost two fumbles that were returned for Carolina TDs and threw a costly interception in the end zone that ended a UK scoring threat as the Wildcats lost 38-23.

Comment: UK went 30 years without beating a top-10 foe; Woodson and Co. did it twice (No. 9 U of L and No. 1 LSU) in seven games.


Senior season: 2003 Team record: 3-4

Numbers: Completed 60.7 percent of his passes (94 of 155) for 969 yards with 12 touchdown passes and four interceptions.

Best moment: Fired a pair of TD passes to help UK earn a road victory over Indiana (34-17).

Worst moment: With Kentucky clinging to a 21-16 lead over Florida late in the fourth quarter, Lorenzen threw an ill-advised pass while in the clutches of Gators linebacker Channing Crowder. It went right to Florida cornerback Johnny Lamar, who returned the ball to the UK 1-yard-line. Two plays later, Florida scored the game-winning TD.

Comment: A shotgun passer miscast in the "Kansas State multiple offense" that a new coaching staff brought to Lexington, Lorenzen did not get to go out on a high note.


Senior season: 1998 Team record: 5-2

Numbers: Completed 71.4 percent of his passes (252 of 353) for 2,782 yards with 25 touchdown passes and eight interceptions.

Best moment: Upset of No. 21 LSU in Baton Rouge.

Worst moment: Four interceptions against Indiana, albeit in a game UK rallied to win.

Comment: In Hal Mumme's pass-happy attack, Couch had at least three TD throws in six of UK's first seven games (exception being Indiana with one).


Senior season: 2010 Team record: 4-3

Numbers: Completed 68.3 percent of his passes (157 of 230) for 1,791 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Best moment: Game-winning TD pass to Randall Cobb with 1:15 left capped a career night in which Hartline threw for 349 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions as UK scored its first-ever victory over a Steve Spurrier-coached team with a 31-28 upset of No. 10 South Carolina.

Worst moment: After going the first three games without throwing an interception, Hartline was picked off twice in The Swamp as Florida beat UK for a 24th straight time, 48-14.

Comment: Having silenced (most of) what had been a legion of critics, it'll be fascinating to see whether Hartline can play the rest of the season at the elevated level he's shown against top-10 foes Auburn (23-for-28) and South Carolina (32-for-42) the past two weeks.

Reach Mark Story at (859) 231-3230 or 1-800-950-6397, ext. 3230, or mstory@herald-leader.com. Your e-mail could appear on the blog Read Mark Story's E-mail at Kentucky.com.

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