Date story was published: Sunday, September 18, 1988
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- This was Bill Mallory's mission. He predicted it, willed it, downright threatened it. He said Indiana was fed up with being battered by Kentucky blue. He said this year would be different, this time his Hoosiers would lock the gates and kick some fannies.
It ain't bragging if you back it up.
Indiana backed it up. Big-time. Anthony Thompson rushed for 166 yards. Dave Schnell threw for two touchdowns, one a 69-yard, fourth-quarter heartbreaker. Mike Dumas blocked two Kentucky punts. Kicker Pete Stoyanovich booted a school-record 53-yard field goal. And IU shaked, rattled and rolled over the visiting Wildcats 36-15 yesterday at Memorial Stadium.
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Said Mallory, the happy IU coach, "Our kids went in, jaws locked, and played a good, hard, physical football game."
Said Jerry Claiborne, the unhappy Kentucky coach, "I don't think we played with the same intensity we played with last week. But you can't take anything away from Indiana."
To be sure, UK yesterday was nowhere near the UK that scared Auburn the previous Saturday. Quarterback Glenn Fohr missed 11 of 14 passes and found the bench. No Cat back gained more than 31 yards. The defense lost a big gamble in the final period -- an unsuccessful blitz allowed Schnell to hit Eric Turner for a 69-yard touchdown and a 30-15 lead. Then the UK "D" wore down as IU ran off the game's final 12 minutes, marching 83 yards in an astounding 23 snaps to score again on the final play.
"We just didn't play well," offensive tackle Mike Pfeifer said. "We didn't play well at all."
"I thought we started out pretty good," Fohr said. "But then they shut down our passing game with their pressure."
"I wouldn't necessarily say they were a better football team," linebacker Randy Holleran said. "We just made way too many mistakes."
Such as: In the first quarter, Holleran intercepted a Schnell pass then fumbled it back to the Hoosiers. Such as: In the second quarter, a snap went between IU punter Tom Bolyard's legs. Yet before the Cats could corner Bolyard, he had picked up the loose ball and boomed a 35-yard kick to the UK 7.
True, the Indiana lead was 10-7 at halftime. But, "You could tell," said UK defensive back David Johnson, "that they had come to play."
And come for revenge. Revenge for 1984 when Kentucky humbled the Hoosiers 48-14 in Bloomington. And revenge for last year when the Wildcats whipped IU 34-15 in Lexington.
"It's about time," Mallory told an IU Varsity Club in the pre-season, "we locked the gates and kicked their old butt, too."
Which is pretty much what IU (2-0) did the second half in hanging Kentucky (1-2) with its 10th consecutive road loss, tying a UK school record. Indiana scored on all five of its possessions. It outgained UK 238-109. It ran 25 plays the fourth quarter to Kentucky's five.
"The first thing they beat us bad in was the kicking game," said Claiborne. "They beat us bad in a lot of areas, but they beat us real bad there."
Dumas, a sophomore cornerback, blocked Jeff Nelson's first punt in each half. But the second one was the killer. The Hoosiers recovered at the Wildcat eight. One play later, Schnell hit tight end Tim Jorden for a six-yard score. IU led 17-7.
"That took the heart out of them," said Thompson, the Hoosier's star tailback. "After that, they weren't the same."
Nor was Kentucky after Schnell's fourth-quarter bomb. A 34-yard Stoyanovich field goal had made it 20-7. Three minutes later, a record 53- yarder from the senior pushed it to 23-7. "I can't pronounce his name," said Claiborne, "but he sure can kick."
But Kentucky didn't surrender. Not then. Chuck Broughton, Fohr's replacement, drove the Wildcats 80 yards in nine plays -- the big one a 45-yarder to wide receiver John Bolden, taking the ball to the IU 15. Alfred Rawls scored from the 1. The Cats went for two points, which Broughton got by diving in (barely) to cut the lead to eight. There was 1:42 left in the third quarter. "We were right in the ball game," said Claiborne.
Before gambling themselves out of it. Next possession, IU had a third-and- nine at its own 31. Kentucky blitzed, leaving cornerback Albert Burks one- on-one with Turner, a sophomore speedster.
"They picked me up," said UK linebacker Randy Holleran, who blitzed.
"Turner got behind me," Burks said. UK got burned. Schnell's pass was on the money. Turner cradled it at about the Cat 40 and took it from there. "I knew I was real close to being out of bounds," said Turner. "I just swung my hips and didn't look down."
"I thought he did step out," said Burks.
The officials did not.
"We were blitzing and we don't even get close to the quarterback," said Claiborne. "That's bad."
It got worse. After the score, the Cats ran five plays -- one an intentional grounding penalty -- and punted. There was 11:59 left. They never saw the ball again.
The Hoosiers began at their own 17 and drove. And drove. They earned seven first downs. The first 10 and the final nine snaps of the drive were running plays. Thompson carried 14 times -- "We were the best conditioned team. I could have carried 10 more times," he said later -- including the final time, as Mallory hurried in a play to score six more before the clock ran out.
"I'm sure," said UK tackle Mike Pfeifer, "we'll think about that next year."
But that's next year. This year? First, Claiborne did not blame Friday's bus crash when two people were killed after slamming head-on into the UK team bus. "I don't think that affected us at all," said the coach.
"We just didn't make any big plays," said Pfeifer. "We're going to have to settle down, regroup and grow up a little."
As for IU? "We definitely had something to prove today," said Schnell.
They proved Bill Mallory right.
"They were on a mission," said UK's Johnson. "Mission accomplished."