Date story was published||| Sunday, October 21, 1990
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Harvey Williams turned in the best performance ever against a Kentucky defense, rushing for a career-high 213 yards -- including a 60-yard touchdown on the third play of the game -- sparking LSU to a 30-20 victory over visiting UK last night.
Williams' performance eclipsed a 197-yard effort by Florida's Neal Anderson against the 1982 Wildcats. It also outdueled UK's Al Baker, who gained a career-best 159 yards on 17 carries, as the Tigers celebrated homecoming by downing the Cats for the fourth straight time at Tiger Stadium.
Wide receiver Todd Kinchen caught a 45-yard scoring pass, one of four grabs for 103 yards. And Pedro Suarez kicked three field goals as LSU improved to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the Southeastern Conference.
But Williams was the top Tiger. The senior halfback used LSU's open date last weekend to rehabilitate an injured hamstring, then roared through the visitors for 155 yards on 13 carries the first half alone. Williams' previous personal best was a 196-yard game his sophomore season.
"I told Harvey before the game that I thought he would have a big night, and it came true," said LSU coach Mike Archer. "He showed tonight he's as good a tailback as there is."
Baker wasn't far behind. The senior gained 112 first-half yards on just seven carries. He finished with 159 yards on 17 carries. His previous career high for a game was 79 yards, equaled last week against Mississippi State.
But Kentucky still fell to 2-5 overall and 1-2 in the conference. It was the first loss at Tiger Stadium for head coach Bill Curry after two victories, both at Alabama.
"We had the opportunities to make the big play and didn't do that," Curry said. "Even though we scored more than they did in the second half, the difference in the game was we did not convert our opportunities."
LSU did, rolling up 458 yards total offense, the most allowed by the UK defense this season. The Tigers gained 287 yards the first half, including 192 on the ground, on the way to a 24-13 halftime lead. Nor did the Tigers dawdle.
Three snaps into the night, Williams went from the LSU 40, veered to the left sideline and suddenly had a step on safety Brad Armstead. Corner Sterling Ward caught Williams' ankles at the 5-yard line, but the halfback fell into the end zone for the score. The score was 7-0 LSU.
"You've got to tackle him," Curry said. "You've got to tackle the guy."
"They were zone blocking us and when they would sweep right they would block us to the left," said UK linebacker Randy Holleran, who was credited with 24 tackles. "They would wall us off and stop our pursuit getting to the football."
On the fourth play for Kentucky, Baker came right back with a long run of his own. He, too, started up the middle, but cut to the right sideline. Flanker Neal Clark gave a good block. And Baker scored. The run covered 30 yards. Less than four minutes the game, the score was tied at 7.
On the next Kentucky series, Baker shook loose again, this time for 51 yards to the Tigers' 16. The Tigers' defense held. Doug Pelfrey kicked a 29- yard field goal. Kentucky led 10-7.
Suarez booted a 31-yard field goal to tie the game at 10. Kentucky's last lead came with 5:59 left in the second quarter when Pelfrey nailed a 41-yard field goal to put UK up 13-10.
But then Kinchen struck. The Tigers' outstanding wide receiver blew past Ward down the left sideline. Quarterback Chad Loup put the ball on the money for a 45-yard touchdown. LSU led 17-13.
If that score smarted, the Tigers' touchdown 19 seconds before halftime was particularly painful. The Tigers moved to a first-and-goal at the 10. A holding call pushed the home team back to the 20. But Williams picked up 13 yards, then 3 more yards, then somehow was wide open for a pass at the end zone, taking the 4-yard Loup toss for the TD. Thus the Tigers led 24-13 at intermission.
Kentucky, however, started the second half with a bang. On the third play, Smith fired a 42-yard completion to Phil Logan at the LSU 16. It was UK's longest pass completion of the season. Five plays later, Smith dived over from the 1. UK trailed 24-20.
"We still do not have the sense of urgency we need on both sides of the ball," Curry said. "After we get it to 24-20, that's when you have to slam the door. Every single time we've been in that position, they've gone down the field and scored."
Before that, however, it was the UK offense that failed to achieve the go- ahead score. The next three Cat possessions, UK gained 7, 13 and 18 yards. "I think we stopped ourselves more than they stopped us," Smith said.
And the Cats could not keep stopping LSU. A 59-yard drive ended with a 37- yard field goal from Suarez for a 27-20 lead. Then with 9:17 left, the kicker provided the final margin, making a 41-yarder.
Kentucky drove to a first down at the LSU 31. But after a 4-yard scramble by Smith, the quarterback threw incomplete to fullback Terry Samuels. On third down, LSU sniffed out a shuttle pass and dropped Baker for a 5-yard loss. Pelfrey's 49-yard field goal attempt fell 5 yards short. LSU then ran out the clock.
"I know people are going to say we're improving, but improving isn't enough," Curry said. "I want this team to learn to win in the clutch."