Date story was published||| Sunday, September 21, 1997
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - And Indiana thought it was bad at Freedom Hall.
Thought they would never again see a Kentucky team run-and-gun, and play great defense, and execute to perfection, and just get on one, game-long devastating roll the way Rick Pitino's hoop Cats did last December, jackhammering Bob Knight and his humbled Hoosiers into the Fairgrounds floor by an amazing 34.
Well they did. Yesterday. At Memorial Stadium.
Only this time, amazingly, it was the Kentucky football team that threw up its own run-and-gun, that played great defense, that executed to near perfection, that saw its own Air Pair - Tim Couch and Craig Yeast or Tim Couch and Kevin Coleman or Tim Couch and Kio Sanford or Tim Couch and whoever - soar.
It was Hal Mumme's grid Cats that got on one, game-long devastating roll, jackhammering Cam Cameron's humbled Hoosiers into the Memorial Stadium AstroTurf by 42 points. And Knight was on hand, in the stands, to see this, too.
It was 21-0 Kentucky at the half.
It was 49-0 Kentucky at the end of three quarters.
It was 49-7 Kentucky at the horn.
"It was too much fun," said Coleman.
It was Couch, the sophomore from Hyden, completing 24 of 32 passes for 334 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns in just three quarters of work. It was Yeast, the junior from Harrodsburg, catching four of those TD throws, tying another school mark.
It was Anthony White, his right shoulder still separated, rushing for 131 yards, averaging 8.2 yards a crack. It was Couch's roommate, Coleman, catching two more scores. It was Kio Sanford grabbing four balls for 99 yards, and with style - 37 on one acrobatic grab, 37 more when he hurdled an IU pile and skipped into the end zone for yet another score.
And it was a Kentucky defense, its back to the wall the entire second half of the 35-27 loss at Mississippi State last time out, keeping the Hoosiers out of the end zone until the game was long past decided. Long past.
"I think everyone could see they caused us problems," said Cameron, IU's first-year coach, "especially with a team that does not have a lot of team Thing was, the way UK's new head coach acted all week you would have thought he was the one with the major concerns, Mumme being a bit testy in practice, keeping his Cats on the field an extra hour on Thursday, shattering an $85 bullhorn in the process.
As it turned out, the two weeks between UK's disappointing loss at Starkville and yesterday's kickoff were just what the Cats needed.
"No. 1, we were able to get Jonas Liening, Anthony White and Jimmy Robinson healthy," Mumme said. "And No. 2, we got to polish our no-huddle offense. Playing a blitzing style defense, I think the no-huddle really helped us."
From the start. Never mind that Indiana was a two-point favorite, or that coordinator Jon Heacock's "Desert Swarm" style defense professed to contain some of the same components that Mississippi State's Joe Lee Dunn used effectively two weeks back. First UK drive: five plays, 72 yards, touchdown, Couch to Yeast for 12 yards.
"That Mississippi State game," Couch said, "was a great learning experience for me."
Then, start of the second quarter, Couch showed just how much he has learned. He switched the gears.
Concerned with the pass, Indiana kept five players "in the box," keeping six outside to defend aerials. "And we could block them with our five," said Couch, "so we just went to the run."
Kenneth Grant, the true freshman, gained first seven yards, then 11 yards. White picked up eight. After an incomplete pass, White gained 15 more. Then Derek Homer, another true freshman, gained six. Three more for White. Then 13 more for White down to the IU 30-yard line.
Four snaps later, Couch found Yeast again for a score, this time from six yards out, and it was 14-0.
Next possession, with Indiana looking for the run, Couch went back to the pass, hitting Lance Mickelsen with a screen pass that the junior turned into a 50-yard sprint.
"Tim did a great job of checking to the run when they were playing pass, and checking to the pass when they were playing run," Mumme said.
Three snaps later, there was that man Yeast again, catching a pass on the left sideline and stretching it into the end zone for a 7-yard score. Kentucky 21, Indiana 0. The rout was on.
"Tim just found me, and I found the end zone," Yeast said.
"I even told Tim," Sanford said, "Hey I want some of what Craig is getting."
There was plenty to go around in a four-touchdown third quarter. After Bob Holmberg blocked an IU punt, Couch threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Coleman. After Lamont Smith recovered an IU fumble, Couch hit Sanford, who did an Edwin Moses impersonation at the 20 and promptly scored. After the UK defense stopped IU on downs near midfield, Couch threw 19 yards to a wide, wide-open Coleman for a score.
And, after Littleton Ward recovered another Hoosier fumble, Couch hooked up with Yeast one more time, this for a 10-yard touchdown and a 49-point lead. Freedom Hall all over again?
"Our motto is just to have fun and play the next play," Couch said. "The first two games we were just going out there and trying to get the plays run. Now we feel like we can do more things with it, that we're really taking this offense to another level right now."
Indiana has seen enough Kentucky levels, thank you.
Said Cameron, "We've got to come, between this year and next year, a long way to catch up to Kentucky."