Date story was published: Sunday, October 4, 1992
OXFORD, Miss. -- Despite blowing numerous first-half opportunities and suffering a third-quarter scare, Ole Miss extended Kentucky's road losing streak to 13 games with a 24-14 victory last night.
After the visitors had sliced the Rebel lead to 17-14 after three quarters, Ole Miss drove 69 yards in 10 plays for the deciding touchdown. Quarterback Russ Shows completed a key third-and-3 pass to tight end Chris Turner for 23 yards to the UK 22. Then on third-and-goal from the 3, Shows lofted a perfect pass over the head of safety Brad Armstead and into the hands of wide receiver Eddie Small for the touchdown.
The decisive drive halted a furious Kentucky comeback. Trailing 17-0 at the half, the Wildcats moved 59 yards on their first possession of the second half, with Terry Samuels scoring from 1 yard out. Then after Reggie Smith intercepted a tipped Shows' pass at the Rebel 28, quarterback Pookie Jones hit wide receiver Alfonzo Browning for a 9-yard score, cutting the lead to 17-14.
But Doug Pelfrey missed a 48-yard field goal on Kentucky's next possession, giving the momentum back to Mississippi, who took the ball down the field for the score, dropping Bill Curry's team to 3-2 on the season and 1-2 in the Southeastern Conference. It also extended UK's winless streak on the road to 13 consecutive games, dating back to 1989.
"The story of the game is obviously we made so many mistakes the first half we could've been out of it had our defense not stiffened," Curry said. "Offensively was very reminiscent of last week's performance, which is disturbing."
Mississippi improved to 3-2 on the season, and 2-2 in the SEC. Tailback Cory Philpot rushed for 135 yards on 28 carries, and Shows hit 15 of 28 passes for 148 yards and the one touchdown. And the Rebels snapped a two-game losing streak despite missing three golden opportunities in the first half.
In fact, if ever a team was fortunate to be trailing by just 17-0 at halftime it was Kentucky. Six times the Rebels were inside the Kentucky 25- yard line. Two of those possessions ended in touchdowns, one in a field goal. The other three saw Brian Lee miss two field goals and UK linebacker Marty Moore intercept a Shows pass in the end zone.
"We couldn't get anything going offensively," Jones said. "We didn't help the defense out at all."
For Kentucky, it was bad from the start. After UK's first possession went nowhere -- a sign of things to come -- Ole Miss' fourth play from scrimmage saw Marvin Courtney break numerous Wildcat arm-tackles and motor 48 yards to the 5-yard line. Two plays later, Philpot scored from 2 yards out.
UK's Donnie Redd then fumbled at his own 25-yard line. It was the first of four Cat turnovers. The defense held, and Lee kicked a 27-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead. Only 7:18 had elapsed.
Next possession, Ole Miss' Germaine Kohn returned a punt 24 yards to the Kentucky 37. The Rebels moved to the 5-yard line, but after a 2-yard loss on third-and-goal, Lee missed a chip-shot 24-yard field goal.
Three plays later, the Rebels' Johnny Dixon scooped up a Clyde Rudolph fumble at the Kentucky 13. But Shows threw into double-coverage in the end zone, Moore making the interception.
Late in the second quarter, the Rebs marched 60 yards for a score. Shows hit Eddie Small with a 28-yard completion to the Wildcat 32. Eight plays later, Jeremy Veasley scored from a yard out, making it 17-0.
And Ole Miss had even one more chance when Danny Boyd intercepted a Jones' pass at the UK 31. But Lee missed again, the kicker hooking a 39-yard field goal wide left, :10 before halftime.
Kentucky managed just 84 yards of offense the first half. Its running game was held to 38 yards on 18 attempts. Its passing game completed five of 12 attempts for just 46 yards. Its longest drive was a 39-yard, 8-play possession. Its deepest penetration the Ole Miss 37 early in the second quarter.
On the night, Jones completed but seven of 29 passes for 83 yards and one score. Backup Ryan Hockman was four of seven for 32 yards and one interception.
"This was a real disappointment to us because we felt like we were prepared to play very well," Curry said.