Date published: Sunday, September 21, 2003
BLOOMINGTON -- It wasn't an artistic masterpiece, but then again Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks probably wasn't looking for the Mona Lisa.
In a game that he labeled a must-win, all Brooks really was looking for was to get his team to .500. And while it came in rather strange fashion, the Cats found a way to deliver.Kentucky came out sluggish offensively for the fourth straight game, and lost the battle of the stat sheet for the third time in four contests. But the Wildcats scored two touchdowns off busted plays and also benefited from a gaffe by Indiana Coach Gerry DiNardo in taking down the Hoosiers 34-17 in front of 34,829 at Memorial Stadium.
"I'm really pleased that we responded," Brooks said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but in a must-win game, we got the win, and that's what counts.
"I know the coach needed it for his psyche, and I think our players did, too. 2-2 is a lot different than 1-3. We'd like to be better than 2-2, but we're not. And we did all we could do today about the situation, and that was get the win."
Indiana outgained UK 449-354. But Kentucky used a dominant third quarter where it outscored the Hoosiers 14-0 and limited them to 8 yards of offense to pull away for the win.
"What I liked tonight is that we battled our way through things," Brooks said. "We got off to a tough start again in field position but we didn't give in to it. We battled back. They came back and made some plays on us. We came back and took it over again. We go in at halftime on a tight game and then we come out and dominate the third quarter. I thought we responded like a good football team should respond."
The game basically turned on three plays. Kentucky found itself down 10-7 after a 63-yard screen pass TD reception by BenJarvus Green-Ellis with 2:51 left in the first half.
UK got the ball back, and on first-and-10 from its own 49, Lorenzen drew the Indiana defense off sides. Lorenzen took the snap and lofted a Hail Mary downfield in the direction of Chris Bernard, who made an overhead catch between two IU defenders and slid into the end zone for an improbable touchdown that took the Cats into the locker room with a 13-10 lead.
"That was pure luck," Lorenzen said. "I just threw it as high as I possibly could and he kept running and running and running and got to it."
Bernard said he didn't even see the ball until he got close to the end zone.
"That thing was moving around like an airplane," Bernard said. "My head was spinning around and around, and all of a sudden it fell right into my arms."
Lorenzen also converted another busted play into six points. After running back Draak Davis went the wrong way on a check into an option play midway through the third quarter, Lorenzen was met behind the line of scrimmage by IU's Duane Stone. But Lorenzen shook off Stone, spun around to the left side and dived in the end zone from a yard out to make it 20-10.
The Hoosiers' meltdown continued as they were burned by a mistake from DiNardo on Kentucky's next series.
Facing third-and-goal from the IU 7, UK receiver Keenan Burton was whistled for offensive pass interference after catching a pass at the 1-yard line. Instead of taking the penalty, which would have pushed Kentucky back 15 yards and made it third-and-goal from the 22, DiNardo declined, giving UK a fourth-and-goal from inside the 1.
After the game, DiNardo said he thought the ball was spotted at the 3-yard line.
"I think it was pretty clear that we were going to go for it," Lorenzen said.
Draak Davis scored on the next play, and suddenly the Cats had a 27-10 lead.
Now Brooks can get his team ready for a visit from Florida on Saturday.
"It isn't going to be easy to prepare for Florida in any way, shape or form," Brooks said. "But it makes it a lot better with a victory tonight that we can correct mistakes in a more positive way than digging out of a 1-3 hole."