Date story was published: Sunday, October 30, 1983
In the end, it was a game neither team seemed to want. Or maybe Halloween came a bit early to Commonwealth Stadium.
Whatever the reasons, Kentucky and Cincinnati played to a mistake-prone 13-13 tie last night before a sellout crowd of 57,789. In the final quarter, each team missed a kick (UK an extra-point try, Cincinnati a field goal attempt) that could have clinched victory.
Kentucky, however, may have felt lucky just to get out of the game without a loss. Plagued by interceptions, fumbles and some seemingly uninspired play, UK needed a fourth-quarter touchdown by George Adams just to salvage the tie.
Cincinnati outgained the Wildcats 374 to 260 in total yards, while Kentucky suffered two interceptions and lost two fumbles. The tie, however, kept Kentucky in the post-season bowl picture and left the Wildcats' record at 5-2-1. Cincinnati, conqueror of Penn State early in the season, is now 3-4-1.
The Kentucky offense stumbled and sputtered from the beginning and Coach Jerry Claiborne quickly removed senior quarterback Randy Jenkins in favor of red-shirt freshman Bill Ransdell in the second quarter. Ransdell guided UK to both touchdowns.
Ransdell completed 10 of 23 passes for 125 yards, while Jenkins completed just two of seven for 13 yards and suffered two interceptions.
Kentucky trailed 13-7 as the fourth quarter began, but the Wildcats promptly drove 43 yards in 11 plays for the tying touchdown. Adams, who gained 93 yards on 22 carries, carried seven times in the drive and scored the TD on third- and-goal from the 2 with 11:39 to play.
However, Chris Caudell missed the kick for the point after that would have given UK the lead. For Caudell, it was his first miss after converting 27 straight extra points.
Ironically, the last time Caudell missed an extra point, Kentucky tied Kansas 13-13 last season.
Twice in the game's final seven minutes, Cincinnati threatened but the Kentucky defense held on. The Bearcats drove to the UK 25 with 5:32 to play, but Kerry Baird intercepted a pass by Doug Rutan at the UK 9.
In the game's final four minutes, Cincinnati drove from its own 26 to the UK 22. Mike Morton then attempted a 39-yard field goal with 21 seconds to play, but the kick sailed wide left.
The first quarter was a bit bizarre and a virtual disaster for Kentucky.
UK's Caudell booted the opening kickoff to the Cincinnati 5, where the ball squirted away from UC's Walter Lewis and rolled out of bounds at the 1.
Kentucky, however, could not capitalize on the Bearcats' bad fortune. Cincinnati punched the ball out to its own 44 before being forced to punt. Now, the shoe was on the other foot as Shaun Burdic's kick rolled dead at the UK 1.
On the first play from scrimmage, Kentucky mysteriously tried an end sweep and Lawrence "Choo Choo" Lee was tackled in the end zone by UC's Brad Nothacker for a safety.
After Paul Calhoun's free kick, the Bearcats quickly threatened again. In two plays, Cincinnati moved from its own 48 to the UK 8, thanks largely to a 37-yard pass from Mike Willging to Jason Stargel. However, misfortune struck UC again on the next play when Jon Jon Thomas seemed to be headed for a touchdown only to fumble into the end zone, where John Grimsley recovered for Kentucky.
Cincinnati pushed its lead to 5-0 on its next possession when Mike Morton kicked a 25-yard field goal.
Meanwhile, the Kentucky offense struggled. The Wildcats gained only 19 yards in the first quarter, running just seven plays. UK did not pick up a first down until the game was 42 seconds into the second quarter.
The Cincinnati lead climbed to 13-0 when linebacker Jerome Brinson intercepted a Randy Jenkins pass on third-and-four and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown with 8:56 left in the half. Cincinnati added a 2-point conversion on a pass from Willging to Deno Foster.
That's when Ransdell entered the game and the Kentucky offense immediately came to life. The Wildcats marched 63 yards in nine plays for their first points of the night. Adams scored the touchdown on a 2-yard run with 5:19 remaining in the half.