Sunday, September 19, 1999

Mumme, UK make Hoosiers pay

'Cats rely on run to wear down IU in 44-35 victory

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Hal Mumme leaves no motivational play unused. As his Kentucky football team prepared for a critical test Saturday at Indiana, Mumme relayed numerous caustic comments leaking from Hoosier lips.

        The Wildcats, lugging a chip on their shoulder pads, then knocked Indiana into next season with a 44-35 victory. UK (2-1) has beaten IU five consecutive seasons.

        “They've been talking smack all week, and Coach Mumme made sure we heard every word of it,” UK sophomore receiver Dougie Allen said. “We showed we can move the ball, period, no matter what team we're playing.”

        This one was personal. Mumme's offensive genius had been questioned by Indiana's coaches, who seemed to solve UK in their near-upset last year in Lexington.

        Mumme responded with an unlikely game plan, attempting 46 rushes to just 31 passes — the first time in his three seasons at UK his team ran more than it threw.

        It worked, as senior Anthony White wore down IU with 26 carries for 130 yards, part of a 180-yard UK rushing attack. The Wildcats held the ball nearly nine minutes longer than IU, keeping slippery IU quarterback Antwaan Randle-El on the sidelines.

        “I haven't run the ball 26 times since I was in high school,” said White, whose previous career high was 19 carries last week against Connecti cut. “Coach Mumme takes what you give him, and he knew to emphasize the run and the short passes today.”

        IU had rattled the Wildcats last year with a soft zone coverage, forcing All-American QB Tim Couch into the worst of his 23 games under Mumme. Couch had four interceptions and a season-low 301 passing yards, needing 53 passes to get that.

        UK's offense generated just 10 points that day, as scores by the special teams and defense helped the Wildcats rally from 17 points down in a 31-27 victory. What angered Mumme was the way IU's coaching staff spent its summer vacation.

        To hear Mumme tell it, Cam Cameron and his assistants made the rounds at coaching clinics toting an IU-UK video.

        “The Indiana people made an offseason going around showing folks how to stop Kentucky,” Mumme said last week. “It's a bone of contention with us.” UK had to have this one. Needing six victories to be bowl-eligible, a loss Saturday would have left it needing a 5-3 mark in Southeastern Conference play for a bowl bid. The Wildcats haven't posted a winning mark in SEC play since 1977.

        “We try not to base the season on any one game, but this was huge,” UK sophomore QB Dusty Bonner said. “We hope this quiets some (doubters), but we can't worry about it if it doesn't.”

        UK's lead ranged from seven to 17 points throughout the second half, but a late mistake gave IU (1-2) hope. UK recovered an onside kick at IU's 42 with 3:13 left, but Derek Homer fumbled away possession on the next play.

        On third-and-6 from his 40, Randle-El misfired and was picked off by UK junior cornerback Eric Kelly. It was Kelly's first career interception.

        “It was a pressure situation, but it wasn't bad pressure,” Kelly said.

        Saturday was another steady showing for Bonner, who completed 21 of 34 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns. He has bettered 300 yards passing in all three of his starts.

        Senior tight end James Whalen Jr., who is second in the SEC in receptions, caught 10 passes for a career-high 121 yards and a TD.


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