Date story was published: Sunday, September 08, 2002
About the only thing that drew complaints from Kentucky's season-opening win over Louisville was the meager offensive production, as the Cats compiled just 273 yards of offense.
Yesterday, the UTEP Miners turned out to be the perfect medicine for the UK statbook. The Cats put up three weeks' worth of numbers in a 77-17 obliteration in front of 59,213 fans on a blistering hot day at Commonwealth Stadium.
In addition to rolling up nearly 600 yards of offense, UK equaled its victory total from each of the last two seasons and is off to its first 2-0 start since 1998.
"It was like a dream game, almost," Coach Guy Morriss said. "Everything just kind of worked and fell in place for us. I've been on the other end of those kind of games and it's no fun."
The Miners were supposed to provide the Cats with their first true test in handling prosperity after UK's big win over the Cards, but all UTEP really did was A.) allow Morriss to clear his bench early; and B.) help the Cats rewrite the record books.
The Wildcats set all kinds of school marks in their romp over the Miners, including their highest point total in 53 years. It was the most points scored by a UK team since an 83-0 win over North Dakota in 1950.
The first half served as target practice for UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound junior had four touchdown passes in the first half as the Cats built a 35-10 lead. He took the rest of the day off after throwing a 68-yard touchdown pass to Derek Abney on UK's first series of the second half.
"It was like we were helpless," UTEP defensive end Sam Clarke said. "The score kept going up and we couldn't do anything about it."
Just about every Wildcat who dressed got a chance to get his uniform dirty. Eight players scored their first career points, and the Cats used three different quarterbacks, four different running backs and three kickers during the course of the game.
"I think I heard some offensive lineman (on the sidelines) saying they wanted to score a touchdown," said senior running back Artose Pinner, who contributed 116 yards rushing and a touchdown to the massacre.
Lorenzen got things going on UK's second drive by spotting Aaron Boone behind the UTEP secondary for a 35-yard score three minutes and 34 seconds into the game.
The floodgates really began to open after Pinner's 9-yard touchdown run made it 14-3 with 1:48 left in the first quarter.
Freshman Glenn Holt Jr. got the first score of his brief career on a 12-yard fade from Lorenzen with 13:14 left in the third quarter.
Junior-college transfer Chris Bernard then joined the fray by burning the UTEP secondary and hauling in a 49-yarder from Lorenzen to make it 28-10 with 9:35 left before halftime. The Cats would get one more score before intermission when an errant snap sailed over the head of UTEP punter Bryce Benekos at the 21 to set up a Lorenzen-to-Chase Harp 7-yard TD pass.
UK continued the onslaught in the second half. Arliss Beach picked up most of his 108 yards rushing in the final two quarters, and third-string quarterback Dan Lumley and fourth-string running back Andrew Hopewell closed out the scoring with a pair of touchdown runs.
UTEP Coach Gary Nord didn't complain about the Cats' point total.
"They didn't run the score up," he said. "It was a mismatch on the line of scrimmage. They kept running the ball and we couldn't stop them. Even with their subs in, we couldn't stop them."
In addition to piling up 591 yards of offense, Kentucky was 10-for-12 on third down and scored a touchdown each of the eight times they were in the red zone.
But Morriss, who wore a "Grumpy" T-shirt to his weekly news conference, did his best imitation of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs character after the game. He said his team still has a long way to go despite the gaudy numbers.
"We put up a lot of points, and it was a 60-point differential, but we did not play that well," Morriss said. "Especially the first half. I was not happy with the rhythm of the game, the speed at which we were playing, the execution was not good, our concentration was poor. We're happy to get the win, but we've got some things to get corrected between now and next Saturday."