Saturday, December 01, 2001

Hoosiers seek sweep of 'rivalry' games

Kentucky's offense has been hot

The Associated Press

        BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Indiana Hoosiers seniors wanted to make this a season to remember. There will be no bowl game, no winning record and no Bourbon Barrel.

        But the Hoosiers believe there's something to play for today when Kentucky visits for the season finale.

        “It's another rivalry game,” running back Levron Williams said. “We're trying to win this one, too. We've got two trophies from our past rivalry games and we want to get another one.”

        Actually, the awarding of the Bourbon Barrel to the winner of the Kentucky-Indiana game was discontinued in 1999 after a Kentucky football player was involved in a fatal alcohol-related accident.

        Yet, the game is still considered part of the trophy series, which gives the Hoosiers an opportunity to do something few Indiana teams have achieved — a sweep of the three games.

        In fact, winning any trophies has been a challenge for these Hoosiers.

        Coach Cam Cameron's teams lost their first 10 trophy games, a streak that ended Nov. 10, when Indiana won at Michigan State for the first time since 1986 and took back the Brass Spitoon.

        Last week, the Hoosiers won back the Old Oaken Bucket from Purdue for the first time since 1996.

        This week, Indiana could become the first team since 1993 to sweep Michigan State, Purdue and Kentucky in the same season. Only one other Indiana squad, the 1991 team, has won the rivalry triple crown since the Hoosiers' 1967 Rose Bowl season.

        “As far as a team, nobody's beaten Kentucky,” quarterback Antwaan Randle El said. “It was the same way with Purdue, and I think that right there has some significance to it.”

        Kentucky (2-8, 1-7 Southeastern Conference) has been improving throughout the season. The Wildcats enter the game having scored 94 points in their past two games.

        Plus, by rescheduling the game for Dec.1, Kentucky has had two weeks to prepare. The game, originally scheduled for Sept.15, was postponed following the Sept.11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

        “It helps you,” Kentucky coach Guy Morriss said of the extra week. “We got them introduced to Indiana's offense and defense.”

        What the Hoosiers (4-6, 4-4 Big Ten) see in Kentucky is a dangerous opponent who can create all kinds of problems.

        Cameron is wary of the Wildcats' speed and the talents of quarterback Jared Lorenzen, who has thrown for 14 touchdowns and run for two more in the past four weeks.

        Lorenzen has surpassed 300 yards passing in all four games, and Cameron thinks the Wildcats are starting to look a lot like the Kentucky teams that have won the last four meetings in this series.

        “They're playing their best football right now, especially Lorenzen,” Cameron said. “The last four games, he's been phenomenal. He'll be as good or better than any quarterback we've seen so far.”


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