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CATS OUT OF IT EARLY, LOSE 3RD STRAIGHT

Date story was published: Sunday, October 26, 1986

At halftime last night, Kentucky's band adopted a naval theme as it marched in the form of a boat named the "S.S. KY."

To the displeasure of a Commonwealth Stadium crowd, that vessel was the pride of the Kentucky fleet as Georgia scuttled the Wildcats 31-9.

The loss, already assured by halftime, was the third straight for foundering Kentucky, 3-3-1.

Georgia improved to 5-2 and kept alive its hopes of winning the Southeastern Conference. The Bulldogs are 3-1 in the SEC. UK fell to 0-3.

Kentucky was dominated throughout in losing its ninth straight game to Georgia.

By halftime's "S.S. KY." christening, a long line of cars leaving Commonwealth could be seen. The score was 21-3 and the chances of a UK win had already departed by then.

How futile were Kentucky's first-half efforts?

Georgia scored two touchdowns within 69 seconds, and the Cats couldn't get into the end zone before intermission despite several excellent chances.

That's how futile.

Even UK's only lead sparked more frustration than reassurance.

The Cats took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards. But the big plays on the drive were two third-down scrambles by quarterback Bill Ransdell.

If that weren't a big enough clue as to how difficult the evening might be for Kentucky, Georgia's defense provided it at drive's end.

A 23-yard pass to Dee Smith gave Kentucky a first-and-goal at the 1. The Wildcats couldn't get in. UK tried a pitch left to fullback Marc Logan, then Logan up the middle and finally a roll-out pass to Eric Pitts that was broken up in the end zone.

The Cats had to settle for Joe Worley's 18-yard field goal.

Kentucky gained only 46 yards in the first half after its first possession. Ransdell was benched for the final two series for backup Kevin Dooley. The two combined for four first downs after the five in the initial drive.

Ransdell completed only four of 14 passes and had two intercepted in the first two quarters. Dooley hit only one of seven and had one intercepted.

Georgia took command seven plays after recovering a Logan fumble at the UK 25-yard line.

The Bulldogs needed trickery to get their go-ahead touchdown. Coach Vince Dooley sent Steve Crumley in for an apparent 33-yard field goal after Logan's fumble. However, holder Cris Carpenter handed off to wide man Nathaniel Lewis on an end around. Lewis got a first down at the 6.

Fred Lane, a wide receiver pushed into a tailback spot because of injuries, swept around left end for the touchdown with 14:50 remaining in the second quarter.

Sixty-nine seconds later, Georgia increased its lead to 14-3.

All-American safety John Little intercepted a Ransdell pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown.

Two Kentucky chances to mount first-half comebacks fizzled.

Smith's 42-yard kickoff return that followed Little's touchdown sparked nothing. Three plays, including an underthrown screen pass to Mark Higgs that he had to field on his knees for a 9-yard loss, netted a minus 5 yards. UK had to punt.

Late in the half, Jeff Nelson's 63-yard punt was downed at the 1.

Georgia's punt back gave Kentucky field position at the Bulldog 48.

The opportunity was lost when a Dooley pass was intercepted at the Georgia 8.

A Ransdell interception led to Georgia's third first-half touchdown. The pass was tipped by defensive end Aaron Chubb and intercepted by linebacker John Brantley at Georgia's 49.

Then tailback Lars Tate took a quick pass, cut sharply to avoid a tackler and outraced two other UK defenders before being dragged down by safety Ron Robinson. The 35-yard play pushed Georgia to the UK 16.

Three plays later, quarterback James Jackson ran it in from 8 yards out.

Late in the third quarter, Kentucky finally converted one of its many chances.

A 27-yard Georgia punt gave the Cats possession at their own 42.

It took a broken play and another Ransdell scramble to get Kentucky into scoring position.

Ransdell, under a heavy rush all night, broke free and found Smith on a 33-yard pass to the Georgia 25.

Two plays later, Ransdell scrambled 12 yards on third-and-10.

Smith ran 8 yards for the touchdown that cut Georgia's lead to 21-9.

UK got no closer.

Georgia put the game away with an 80-yard, 10-play drive to open the fourth quarter.

Jackson, who had an off-night passing, ran 38 yards on an option play to set up Lars Tate's 3-yard touchdown run.

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