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UK GOES UP 31-10, THEN SURVIVES SCARE

Date story was published: Sunday, September 20, 1992

Marty Moore was there. Right there. He was watching the tailback, a few steps away, tracking the Hoosier's movement, just as he'd been taught to do all week. And then Moore looked up. And there it was, a heavenly star burning in the night sky. There was the football.

"I didn't really see it until it got to the (running) back," said the University of Kentucky's junior linebacker last night. "I just looked up and there it was."

As in there was the game. And Moore reached up and snared it -- the game and the football -- returning it 36 yards for a touchdown, putting the finishing seal on Kentucky's thrilling 37-25 victory over visiting Indiana last night before 58,450 fans, the largest crowd in Commonwealth Stadium history.

"Just another routine win," UK Coach Bill Curry said.

A win that pushed Curry's Cats to 2-1 on the season. It was also UK's first victory over their border rivals since 1989, breaking a series two-game Indiana winning streak.

"To us, this was an upset," said IU receiver Thomas Lewis, who caught a stunning 12 passes for 129 yard, but whose team is now 1-1. "We came in thinking we were going to win and we didn't."

It wasn't easy. But then at Kentucky, it never is easy. The Wildcats had built a commanding 31-10 lead with 7:53 left when the hurrying Hoosier mounted a magnificent comeback.

IU quarterback Trent Green completed a 55-yard bomb to receiver Scott McGowan, setting up a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ross Hales. That cut the lead to 31-17 with 5:10 remaining.

Less than two minutes later, UK punter Jason Todd fumbled the snap from center, then was tackled at his own 10-yard line. First play, Green found Thomas Lewis in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Green then found McGowan in the left corner on the two-point conversion, making the score 31-25 UK with 3:17 remaining.

Then with 1:43 left, the Hoosiers had the ball back again, 60 yards from completing the comeback. But on second-and-10, Green's screen pass to Brett Law sailed a bit over his tailback's head and into the hands of Moore.

"I line up on the strong side and when the back goes on the weak side, Coach (Larry) New said all week that 'You'd better get him, because they're going to run that play,' " Moore said.

They did and Moore did, grabbing the errant throw and motoring in for the score, saving a night in which UK produced arguably its best performance since Curry became the Wildcats' coach in 1990.

Tailback Donnie Redd rushed for 104 yards on just seven carries, one of them producing a touchdown. Wingback Matt Riazzi scored on a 39-yard run. The UK running game, which had barely produced a crawl the week before in a 35-19 loss at Florida, gained 261 yards on just 49 carries, an average of 5.3 yards per pop. The 37 points was the most scored by UK in the Curry Era.

The much-maligned UK defense held the Hoosiers to 217 yards through the first three quarters. Strike Dean Wells registered a school-record five of the Cats' seven sacks. "That's the best pass rush we've had," Curry said. And the Indiana running game was held to just 40 yards on 34 attempts.

Truth was Kentucky took control from the start. The Cats scored on two of their first three possessions in motoring to a 14-0 lead. A 36-yard pass from Pookie Jones to tight end Neil Page set up the first score. Riazzi, a little- used junior, went 39 yards on a misdirection play for the second score.

Indiana scored 10 second-quarter points to cut the lead to 14-10 at the half. But UK regained control in the second half, getting a 40-yard field goal and back-to-back fourth-quarter touchdowns.

An 18-yard run by Redd and a 12-yard spurt by Riazzi led to a 1-yard Jones' touchdown and a 24-10 lead. Then Redd had runs of 20 and 24 yards, the second into the end zone, as Kentucky pulled away to a three-touchdown lead.

"Donnie was incredible," said Curry. "He was one of the major differences."

"Coach (Don) Riley pulled me over on the sideline and told me to use my eyes when I was running," Redd said. "He said that could he see the holes out there."

"Really, our line took control of the game," said Jones, who completed four of eight passes for 96 yards and rushed for 36 yards. "We just played with a lot more confidence."

Perhaps even too much confidence when the lead was three touchdowns.

"We're still not mature enough to know that a 21-point lead, especially with Trent Green and those receivers on the field, is not enough," said Curry. "There was too much celebrating on the field and on the sideline when we were up 31-10."

Green completed 28 of 41 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns. But the senior threw two interceptions -- Brad Armstead made the second at game's end -- the first being the most damaging.

"The thing that really eats me is that screen; we had three blockers out there to their one linebacker," Green said. "That's why I threw it. I looped it up there for him to run under it and follow our blockers."

But that him turned out to be Marty Moore. And that winner, turned out to be UK.

"The most signficant factor," said Curry, "is that this shows our team that we are good enough to compete with the top teams and win."

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