Date published: Sunday, September 14, 2003
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Jared Lorenzen limped his way through the final quarter on a sprained knee. Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns hobbled off the field to get intravenous fluids and then labored his way back into the huddle.
For a coach looking for some emotion, heart and toughness out of his team, Rich Brooks couldn't have asked for much more than he got from his Wildcats against Alabama last night.Unfortunately for Brooks and the Cats, that wasn't enough to offset the ever-churning legs of Alabama running back Shaud Williams. The 5-foot-8, 191-pound senior tailback burned the Cats for 174 yards rushing and three touchdowns as Alabama outlasted UK 27-17 in front of 83,018 fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium and an ESPN national television audience.
While saying he's not into moral victories, Brooks took notice of his team's effort.
"We showed some heart and some emotion," Brooks said. "We played like a football team tonight, like a team that really cares. We were able to do some very good things against a very good football team on the road in a hostile environment."
On paper, the game shouldn't have been that close. UK was outgained 464-195 and didn't pick up its initial first down until more than five minutes had passed in the second quarter.
The Cats were able to hang in the game thanks mainly to a spirited effort by its bend-but-don't break defense.
And while the offense didn't do much, UK had the ball third-and-one at the Alabama 7-yard line late in the third quarter with a chance for a go-ahead touchdown.
But Draak Davis was stuffed for a two-yard loss after taking an option pitch from Lorenzen. UK was forced to settle for a field goal that left Alabama ahead 13-10 with 2:22 left in the third quarter.
Brooks said that Lorenzen checked into the option play at the line of scrimmage.
"It was a good check, but (Lorenzen) probably should have kept it himself," he said. "I think he probably could have stuck it in there."
Lorenzen sustained a sprained MCL when he was sacked by Derrick Pope early in the third quarter. He still managed to finish the game, going 15-of-24 passing for 169 yards and a touchdown, and is scheduled to be re-evaluated today.
"He's one of the toughest quarterbacks I've ever been around," Brooks said.
After the Cats were forced to settle for the field goal, Williams then wore down the UK defense. He ripped off runs of 13 and 19 yards before Ray Hudson scampered 26 yards to the UK 3. Williams then scored his second touchdown of the game to give Bama a 20-10 cushion with 14:56 left.
"He's a heck of a back," Brooks said of Williams. "He has great vision, can shake and change one yard to the left or right and go downhill just like a hiccup."
Kentucky drove into Alabama territory on its next possession, but Taylor Begley's 49-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left with 9:20 remaining.
Williams tacked on one final touchdown, a 7-yarder with 5:11 left, ballooning the lead to 27-10.
The Cats went down swinging. Derek Abney caught a 24-yard TD from Lorenzen with 4:03 left to cut it to 27-17, but Alabama recovered UK's onside kick at midfield and ran out the clock.
UK (1-2) must now get ready for Saturday's trip to Indiana.
"We didn't come here just to contend," Lorenzen said. "We didn't want that. We had a lot of chances but you have to give credit to Alabama. They just found a way to win."