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LSU'S LATE TOUCHDOWN DEFLATES CATS 29-25

Date story published: Sunday, October 14, 2001

It all seemed to be in place.

Everything that needed to happen for the Kentucky football team to pull offa much-needed upset of LSU happened.

There was a juiced-up Homecoming crowd of 52,471 at Commowealth Stadium.

The much-maligned offense got a boost courtesy of Jared Lorenzen.

The defense actually made some big plays, and the Cats even caught a fewrare breaks.

But when push came to shove, UK walked off the field with that old familiarfeeling.

Heartbreak.

LSU got a 6-yard touchdown pass from Rohan Davey to freshman MichaelClayton with 13 seconds remaining to pull off a 29-25 come-from-behind winover the Wildcats last night.

And instead of picking up what could have been a signature win forfirst-year coach Guy Morriss, the Cats dropped to 1-5 and were left thinkingwhat if.

"It would have been huge," Morriss replied when asked what a win would havemeant to UK. "It would have been huge. Extra big."

The tough loss zapped much of the excitment generated by a brilliant reliefperformance by Lorenzen, who came off the bench to throw two touchdown passesthat gave UK a 25-22 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Lorenzen, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound sophomore, lost his job to Shane Boyd aftera season-opening loss to Louisville and had played sparingly ever since.

But after Boyd threw his second interception of the night at the LSU 1-yardline with UK trailing 22-10 early in the third quarter, Morriss turned toLorenzen, and the former Mr. Football came out sizzling.

He completed three of his four passes, and showed quite a bit of headinesson his first touchdown throw, drawing the LSU defense offsides before findingAaron Boone deep down the left sideline for a 31-yard score that brought UK towithin 22-17 with 4:16 left in the third period.

LSU was then forced to punt, and Lorenzen picked up right where he left offon the last drive. He found Derek Smith for 23 yards and Derek Abney for 30before hitting Abney on a crossing route for a 28-yard touchdown with 8:28remaining. He then lobbed the two-point conversion pass to Smith in the backof the end zone to give Kentucky a 25-22 lead.

"Coming off the sidelines was the best scenario for me tonight," Lorenzensaid. "I was able to watch the first half and get comfortable with LSU'sdefensive tendencies."

And though the UK defense gave up 515 yards to the Tigers, they were ableto offset some of that with big plays.

Patrick Wiggins and Chris Gayton picked up the Cats' first twointerceptions of the season, and UK had six tackles behind the line ofscrimmage, including three quarterback sacks.

And when the Wildcat defense forced LSU to punt on its next possession, UKhad the ball, a three-point lead, and a chance to burn some of the sevenminutes and 17 seconds remaining in the game.

The Cats were able to run the clock down to 3:34, but Lorenzen threwincomplete under heavy pressure on third-and-1 from the LSU 44.

Morriss then decided to punt on fourth down, and LSU had the ball at itsown 20 with 3:18 remaining.

Davey, who completed 27 of his 38 passes for 383 yards with two touchdownsand two interceptions, was at his best on the game-winning drive, going8-for-9 for 86 yards.

UK defensive tackle Ellery Moore broke through and dropped Davey for anine-yard loss to bring up second-and-19 from the Kentucky 36, but Daveycoolly found Clayton for gains of 18 and eight yards, and then picked up nineyards on a keeper to the UK 10-yard line with 23 seconds left.

Kentucky then forced LSU into third-and-goal from the 6, and the Tigerswent to a play that had been there all night: the slant.

Clayton got inside position on cornerback Derrick Tatum and Davey threadeda pass in between Tatum and linebacker Morris Lane for the game-winning score.

"That's a tough route to stop anyway," Morriss said. "And it's so toughwith the receivers they've got and the quarterback they've got."

Clayton, a 6-foot-4, 185-pounder who was rated by many recruiting analystsas the nation's top prep receiver a year ago, finished with nine catches for105 yards and two scores.

Kentucky got the ball back with 12 seconds remaining, but two desperationheaves by Lorenzen were off the mark.

LSU began to get the Kentucky defense off-balance on its first possessionof the game. Davey completed passes of 28 yards to Josh Reed and 27 yards toJerel Myers before LaBrandon Toefield, who finished with 129 yards on 28carries, ripped down the right sideline for a 35-yard run to give the Tigers a7-0 lead with 9:24 left in the opening period.

As it has much of the season, the Kentucky offense struggled in the earlygoing. After John Corbello kicked a 34-yard field goal to give LSU a 10-0lead, the Cats were pinned back at their own 3-yard line when Boyd waswhistled for intentional grounding.

As Boyd dropped back to pass on the next play, center Nick Seitze waswhistled for a hold in the end zone, resulting in a safety and a 12-0 Tigerlead.

Boyd began to find a rhythm in UK's third offensive possession. He foundDougie Allen on a 21-yard bootleg, and Boone took a receiver screen andrumbled his way to the LSU 10. The Cats, however, would have to settle for a24-yard Seth Hanson field goal to bring them to within 12-3 early in thesecond quarter.

Davey, meanwhile, continued to pick apart the Wildcat defense. Toefield's49-yard catch-and-run set up the Tigers first-and-10 at the UK 13, and onthird-and-6, Davey found Clayton for a 9-yard scoring play to give LSU a 19-3advantage.

Boyd went 6-for-8 passing for 48 yards to set up UK at the LSU 26, and thenthe 6-2, 230-pound redshirt freshman used his feet to get the Wildcats intothe end zone for the first time. First he took a quarterback draw off theright side for 13 yards, and then he faked a handoff to Artose Pinner andweaved his way to a 13-yard scoring run to make it 19-10 with 3:23 left in thefirst half.

Corbello would tack on another field goal from 46 yards out 1:16 beforehalftime to give LSU a 22-10 halftime lead.

Lorenzen finished 6-for-11 passing for 146 yards and two scores, and headded 28 yards on five carries. Boyd went 17-for-31 passing for 140 yards andtwo interceptions and ran for 41 yards and a score on five carries.

Morriss said was non-commital about which quarterback would start for nextweek's game at Georgia.

"I don't think Coach Richt needs to know who we'll be playing atquarterback next week," he said. "We probably won't announce that until gameday."

And while the Cats can point to plenty of positives from last night's game,they didn't pick up the one thing they needed the most. A win.

"It's frustrating," Boone said. "I don't want to make any more excuses.It's time for us to step up. We're close to getting over the hump, but wecan't quite make it."

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