Date story was published: Sunday, October 15, 2000
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Kentucky Coach Hal Mumme held out hope all week that his embattled troops could revive their season with a win over LSU last night.
But what Mumme got instead was more of the same type of play that has had the entire coaching staff scratching its head the past month.
The offense continued its puzzling midseason funk, going scoreless for the first time in the Mumme era as LSU extended the UK losing streak to four with a 34-0 victory before 85,664 fans at Tiger Stadium.
Not only was it the first shutout of a Mumme-coached Kentucky team, it was the first time Mumme has gone scoreless as a head coach anywhere. The Kentucky offense has now gone six quarters without putting a single point on the board.
"I've never been shut out before and I know Coach has never been shut out before," UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen said. "We're in a real bad funk and we need to get out of it."
The Tigers don't exactly qualify as a defensive juggernaut, either. They came in ranked ninth in the conference in total defense and 10th in pass defense. Kentucky piled up 397 yards of offense and crossed midfield seven times yet still failed to dent the scoreboard.
"They got some yards, but they didn't get any points," LSU Coach Nick Saban said.
It also didn't help the Cats' cause that they muffed three punts, dropped numerous catchable passes, fumbled the ball in Tiger territory and threw an interception in the end zone.
UK's best chance to score came with three minutes left when Lorenzen's pass to Quentin McCord in the end zone deflected off the receiver's shoulder pads and into the arms of LSU safety Erin Damond.
"I told our guys in the locker room that they set an all-time record; they haven't scored in six quarters," Mumme said. "It's not something we're accustomed to. Of course it helps if you drop eight balls, let balls bounce off of your shoulder pads for interceptions, fumble on their end of the field, and put three punts on the ground."
But as listless as the UK attack was, the Tiger offense wasn't much better in the first half. Quarterback Josh Booty threw a 7-yard TD pass to Josh Reed on the game's opening drive but was only 6-for-19 passing in the first two periods, and UK went into halftime trailing only 10-0.
But LSU delivered the knockout blow in the third quarter. After Artose Pinner's fumble killed Kentucky's opening drive at the LSU 47, Devery Henderson scored on an 8-yard end-around six plays later to give the Tigers a 17-point lead four minutes into the second half.
The comedy of errors would continue. After Baton Rouge native Kendrick Shanklin laid the ball on the ground twice while fielding punts, he was replaced by Derek Abney in the second half. Abney then proceeded to cough up a Donnie Johns punt at the UK 12 late in the third quarter, setting up a 13-yard TD pass from Booty to Reggie Robinson that put the Tigers firmly in control at 24-0 with 4:02 left in the third.
Booty, starting in place of the injured Rohan Davey, finished 15-of-33 passing for 225 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, he didn't throw an interception as the Tigers were turnover-free for the game.
"We didn't turn the ball over today and our special teams did a good job of getting some turnovers which really affected field position," Saban said.
The UK defense was adequate enough early on, but they were eventually snowed under by the missed scoring opportunities and turnovers.
"We just need to come together as a team," cornerback Derrick Tatum said. "When the offense plays good, the defense doesn't. When the defense plays good, the offense doesn't."
LSU played a similar defense to the one South Carolina used against Kentucky last week, keeping the Wildcat receivers in front of them with a loose zone while blitzing once the Cats got the ball in the red zone.
"They were pretty much letting us play and make our own mistakes, and we did a real good job of it," Mumme said.
Lorenzen was 31 of 55 for 280 yards, but those weren't the numbers that mattered. The zero on the scoreboard was.
"We move the ball up and down the field, but we're just not scoring," Mumme said. "We manage to choke. I called all of (the plays), but I didn't drop them. But I run the offense, so it's my fault."
Mumme didn't hesitate when a reporter asked what was the difference between this year and the past two seasons when his teams knocked off LSU.
"Our offense," he said. "Not to take anything away from Coach Saban, because they did a great job. But we played horrible, guys, I don't know what else to say. We're just not very good."