Date published: Sunday, October 19, 2003
Sometimes all that's needed is a little change to spark a flickering flame.
UK's two-quarterback system was effective for the first time all season, and a realigned Wildcats defense shut down the Ohio option game as Kentucky posted a 35-14 victory last night in front of a Homecoming crowd of 61,107 in Commonwealth Stadium.
Shane Boyd entered the game for a struggling Jared Lorenzen late in the first quarter and provided quite a spark. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior ran for two touchdowns, threw a touchdown pass and also had a 30-yard TD reception, making him the first Southeastern Conference player to pull off that feat since Florida's Jacquez Green did it against Auburn in 1997.
"We had some fun tonight," Boyd said. "Everybody was busy. Running, throwing, catching ... tackling, blocking; that's what this game is all about."
But Coach Rich Brooks first praised the Wildcats' defense in his post-game news conference. With UK's regular 3-4 alignment decimated by injuries and suspensions at the outside linebacker position, defensive coordinator Mike Archer plugged in an extra lineman and went with a 4-3 look.
The Cats limited the Ohio option attack to 148 yards on the ground and 295 yards overall and also came up with three takeaways.
"I was extremely pleased with our defensive effort against a difficult offense," Brooks said. "This is a team that has scored on everyone they've played. To perform with that kind of defensive effort was outstanding."
UK defensive linemen Trey Mielsch and Ellery Moore came up with big plays.
The teams went into halftime tied at 7, and Ohio received the kickoff to open the third quarter.
On third-and-9 from the 31, Mielsch sacked quarterback Austen Everson and the ball popped loose and was recovered by Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns at the Ohio 12.
The Cats capitalized as Boyd ran it in on the next play to give UK a 14-7 advantage at the 12:52 mark of the third quarter.
And with Kentucky nursing a 28-14 fourth-quarter lead, Moore sacked Everson and caused another fumble that was recovered by Jeremy Caudill at the UK 45.
An ankle injury to linebacker Durrell White and a suspension to linebacker Deion Holts were part of the reason UK went to a 4-3, but Brooks said the matchups made that alignment more favorable for his team anyway.
"One of our advantages was that our defensive line had a good matchup against their offensive line," Brooks said.
But the win wasn't picture perfect by any means. Once again, the Kentucky offense struggled out of the gate.
The Cats went three-and- out on their first possession. On the second drive, Ohio linebacker Pete Brately sacked Lorenzen, whose fumble was recovered by the Bobcats' Tyler Russ at the UK 7.
Fullback Brad Young scored on the very next play for a 7-0 lead just 4:32 into the game.
Lorenzen drove the Cats into Bobcats territory on their next drive but gave the ball away again after being sacked at the Ohio 26.
"We started very shaky," Brooks said.
Brooks then decided it was time to give Boyd a look, and Lorenzen said he had no objections.
"I don't know what was wrong," said Lorenzen, who added he felt no ill effects from his concussion suffered in the South Carolina game. "The ball kept slipping out of my hand. I just wasn't playing good. I actually told Coach Brooks thanks (for taking him out) because I was afraid I'd get booed if I went right back out there."
Boyd got things going early in the second quarter, bolting 45 yards to the Ohio 28.
Boyd eventually scored on an 8-yard option keeper with 8:18 left for a 7-7 tie.
Boyd later completed his hat trick after Lorenzen re-entered the game at quarterback following a 58-yard pass from Everson to Ray Huston that brought Ohio to within 21-14 with 11:54 left in the game.
Lorenzen dumped a screen over the middle to Boyd, who bobbed and weaved his way 30 yards to push UK's cushion to 28-14 with 10:07 left. UK added the final score when Lorenzen hit Derek Abney for a 16-yard score with three minutes left.
Brooks maintained after the game that there will not be a quarterback controversy.
"Jared's our quarterback," Brooks said. "I just thought he was tentative and didn't quite seem himself. I told him I thought he needed to come over to the side and watch things, and he was good about it. And Shane was good about when I put Jared back in. They compete, but they're good friends. And there's no controversy because Jared's the starter."