UK Football

Long night in Louisiana: LSU 41, Kentucky 3

Kentucky's Demarco Robinson was pulled down by Jalen Collins (32) in the first quarter of the Kentucky at LSU football game at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rogue, La.,, on Oct. 18, 2014. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff
Kentucky's Demarco Robinson was pulled down by Jalen Collins (32) in the first quarter of the Kentucky at LSU football game at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rogue, La.,, on Oct. 18, 2014. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff Lexington Herald-Leader

BATON ROUGE, La. — Kentucky experienced a different kind of heartbreak on the road this time.

After falling in triple overtime at Florida a month ago, UK ended up on the wrong side of a rout, 41-3 at Louisiana State.

Much of the heartbreak this time came on self-inflicted wounds — especially on the normally steady special teams — that put the Cats in a 17-point hole early and then a 27-3 crater at the half.

Kentucky fell to the Tigers for the sixth time in seven tries and had its three-game win streak halted.

The Kentucky special teams group, which Coach Mark Stoops had praised as recently as Monday — saying "we've been really solid across the board on special teams and our return game" — struggled in a big way.

Maybe saying that tempted some sort of Southeastern Conference fate or maybe the Cats were really missing special teams specialist J.D. Harmon, whom Stoops suspended in the first half for a questionable hit in the game last week versus Louisiana-Monroe.

Whatever it was, the Cats' special teams group was far from special and UK paid the price.

Kentucky didn't get quite the start it was hoping for in front of the 101,581 at Tiger Stadium when a short kickoff and a facemask penalty helped the Tigers start at the Cats' 29-yard line.

It took LSU just six plays to move the ball into the end zone on a 1-yard run by freshman Leonard Fournette, who was coming off a career performance at Florida that included rushing for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

After the first of two straight three-and-outs for the Kentucky offense, Colby Delahoussaye made it 10-0 to cap an eight-play, 48-yard drive for the Tigers, who ran the ball 11 times on their first 13 plays.

Another special teams gaffe put Kentucky in a 17-0 hole when Tre'Davious White got loose for a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown.

A little tempo helped UK (5-2, 2-2 SEC) get on the board. Two 10-plus yard passes to Demarco Robinson and Garrett Johnson got the Cats into the red zone for the first time.

They weren't able to get the touchdown, but they settled for a 33-yard field goal by Austin MacGinnis to make it 17-3.

Kentucky had a chance to add to its score, going for it on fourth-and-2 at the LSU 29-yard line, but the Wildcat formation that's had so much success for the Cats this season ended in a 2-yard loss.

The defense made it negligible by forcing a punt on the next possession, but Kentucky couldn't get anything going and punted again, giving up a 21-yard return to put the Tigers at midfield, setting up a 32-yard pass from Jennings to Travin Dural to make it 24-3 with less than a minute to go.

But what a minute that would prove to be for Kentucky as LSU continued to get every special teams bounce, with the Tigers (6-2, 2-2) going for a short kickoff that bounced to no one — and they recovered it on UK's 36-yard line.

Kentucky managed to hold LSU to a field goal on that possession, a 35-yarder for Delahoussaye that bounced off the left upright in to make it 27-3 at the break.

At the half, the Tigers had only outgained Kentucky 178-131 on the same number of plays (37).

Senior running back Terrence Magee extended the lead to 34-3 with a 9-yard run that came directly on the heels of a 38-yard carry.

Magee finished with nine runs for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

In the next special teams scare, Kentucky's Stanley "Boom" Williams took what looked like a helmet-to-helmet hit on a kickoff return and crumpled to the ground.

After a few minutes, he got up slowly and walked gingerly off the field with assistance. The freshman running back didn't return to the game and finished with seven carries for 19 yards and three catches for 15 yards.

Magee continued his own personal second-half show with a 23-yard scamper into the end zone with 3:27 left in the third quarter to give LSU a 41-3 advantage.

The senior running back led the Tigers with 220 all-purpose yards in the win, which made LSU bowl eligible for the 15th straight season.

The victory moved Louisiana State to 45-3 in Saturday night home games under Coach Les Miles, whose only losses in those conditions came against teams ranked No. 1 (Florida in 2008 and Alabama in 2012) or soon-to-be ranked No. 1 in Kentucky's next opponent, Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs, who will play UK on the marquee CBS game at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday afternoon, topped the Tigers here 34-29 a month ago.

Kentucky was outgained 423-217 by the Tigers, finishing with just 66 yards of offense in the second half.

LSU's 303 rushing yards was the most given up by a Stoops defense since he arrived at UK. The previous high was 299 for Alabama last season.

Patrick Towles completed 19 of 36 passes for 146 yards, and the UK ground game struggled with no player rushing for more than 29 yards. In all, the Cats had 27 runs for 71 yards against the Tigers' defense.

It was UK's worst offensive output of the season after the Cats had shown such promise with four games of more than 400 yards.

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