Date story was published: Sunday, October 04, 1998
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Here in the Nutthouse that has become Arkansasfootball, fabulous football, Razorbacks fans have one more reason to be highon their Hogs.
Trailing by two touchdowns early in the third quarter, and by one headinginto the final period , the 22nd-ranked Razorbacks rallied last night to handKentucky a heartbreaking 27-20 loss before a packed house at War MemorialStadium.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, his team trailing 20-13 ,Arkansas cornerback David Barrett turned the game around. He intercepted a TimCouch pass intended for star receiver Craig Yeast and raced 62 yards down thesideline , setting up Arkansas' tying score.
Then, helped along by a pair of Kentucky penalties, the Razorbacks moved 67yards to the winning score, a 10-yard pass from quarterback Clint Stoerner tojunior flanker Hubert Loudermilk.
Not that the Cats quit.
UK took over at its own 16-yard line with just 3:17 left to play and Yeastout of the game with severe leg cramps. Couch methodically moved the team tothe Arkansas 13-yard line with 12 seconds and two shots at the end zoneremaining.
The first shot saw Couch's pass to running back Anthony White into the endzone and into traffic fall incomplete.
The second shot was an overshot. Couch threw high down the middle, and theball glanced off the hand of receiver Kevin Coleman.
"The middle linebacker got too much depth and I had to put it up over him,"Couch said. "I was just trying to put it up where Kevin might be able to goup and get it."
Said Coleman: "I thought I could get it on the tip. But my body was goingthe wrong way."
Thus the Cats lost what Coach Hal Mumme had called "the biggest game we'veplayed" in Mumme's time at UK.
Kentucky fell to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the SEC despite outgaining theRazorbacks 507-355.
"It's a lot like last week," Mumme said. UK lost to 8th-ranked Florida51-35 last week in Gainesville. "We've played two really heartbreaking losseson the road. I just told them I feel for them. I love every one of them. Wewere just six inches off on the pass at the end."
Couch set SEC records for passes and completions, hitting 47 of 67 for aUK-record 499 yards and three touchdowns, with just one interception.
Unfortunately for Kentucky, it was a big interception.
"That was totally my fault," Mumme said. "I called a blitz route into zonecoverage and I didn't do it fast enough for Tim to get the signal out there toCraig. We ran the wrong route on them. It was totally my fault."
"This one is tough," Couch said. "I still had Craig open and I didn't getit to him. That interception turned the game around.
"It just got a lot of momentum going their way."
The Razorbacks were building on their momentum of a week ago, when theyblasted Alabama 42-6, a victory that earned Arkansas a spot in the Top 25.
"This was the greatest," said Houston Nutt, the ex-Murray State coach whohas Arkansas 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference in his firstseason as head coach of the Hogs. "When they had 20 points after their firstpossession of the third quarter, I never dreamed we would hold them withoutanother point."
The Cats could have had even more than 20 points at that point.
All week, Mumme urged his slot receivers, Kevin Coleman and Quentin McCord,to join the party and complement Yeast.
Both answered the call, combining for 14 catches, 181 yards and a touchdown- McCord's nifty grab of a 4-yard Couch pass that put the Cats up 14-7 earlyin the second quarter.
But twice more in the second quarter UK moved inside the Arkansas 40-yardline only to turn the ball over on downs.
"I screwed up and called a scheme the wrong way in the first half," Mummesaid. "Then in the second half I called the interception. It's more me than itis them."
Still, Kentucky was in control on the first drive of the second half. Itmarched 67 yards in nine plays. McCord made a nice catch of a balloon passfrom Couch that moved the ball 25 yards to the 25. Four plays later, Couch hitLance Mickelsen for a 2-yard score. Seth Hanson missed the extra point, butKentucky led 20-7.
Arkansas closed to 20-13 on a pair of field goals, but the Cats startedanother drive. UK had a first down at the Arkansas 32-yard line early in thefourth quarter.
Then disaster struck.
"I saw the ball coming," said Barrett, a junior from Osceola, Ark., whostepped in front of Yeast to pick off Couch's pass.
"The receiver ran a curl route. I broke on the ball like I've been taughtand got it. I was surprised they ran me down, but I was getting tired at theend of the run."
No matter. One play later, Clint Stoerner hit Anthony Lucas for a 13-yardtouchdown to tie the score. On the Hogs' next possession, Stoerner connectedwith Loudermilk to put the home team ahead for the first time.
That was enough.
"We showed a lot of heart," the Razorbacks' T.J. McClain said. "When theyreached our 13 at the end of the game, we just had to dig in. There wasnothing else to do."
"It was just two good teams going at it," Mumme said. "It was like twoheavyweight punchers going at it. Unfortunately somebody had to lose. Moreunfortunately, it was us."