Sunday, September 7, 2003

UK, Lorenzen air it out, top Murray State

By Murray Evans
The Associated Press

Murray State receiver Brandon Roddy, left, tries to hold on to the ball as he is tackled by Kentucky defenders Justin Haydock, left, and Dustin Williams.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The performance Kentucky gave on Saturday night was more than enough to beat NCAA Division I-AA opponent Murray State. The Wildcats know a similar effort probably won't be enough next Saturday.

So while Kentucky players and coaches celebrated following a 37-6 romp over the Racers at Commonwealth Stadium, they also talked about correcting mistakes heading into their Southeastern Conference opener at Alabama.

Kentucky and Alabama both are 1-1. The Crimson Tide fell 20-13 at home to No. 1-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday.

"Tonight, we're already looking at Alabama," Kentucky receiver Chris Bernard said. "We know that we have to play a lot better than we did tonight to compete with that caliber of team."

Murray State (1-1) simply wasn't good enough to give Kentucky much of a challenge, despite the Wildcats' mistakes. Kentucky was penalized 13 times for 119 yards and surrendered 20 first downs to the Racers - four more than Kentucky's offense recorded.

"We're not a polished unit at this point in time," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "We need to continue to get better (before playing Alabama).

"They have some good players. It's going to be a great experience, for us to go on the road in an SEC stadium and play in front of a hostile crowd. We are going to have to keep our poise and be more polished than we were tonight."

Quarterback Jared Lorenzen looked polished against Murray State, throwing four touchdown passes. It was the fifth time in his career he's thrown at least that many scoring passes in a game.

Lorenzen also became Kentucky's career passing yardage leader. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 197 yards, raising his career total to 8,566 yards. Tim Couch passed for 8,435 during his Kentucky career, which ended in 1998.

"I'm happy we got the win," Lorenzen said. "It's more fun to celebrate a win than a record. The offensive line gave me all the time I needed. It was nice to sit back in the pocket and find my receivers downfield."

Murray State forced Lorenzen to move around in the pocket on a few occasions, but he was not sacked and usually had time to find an open receiver - unlike his outing in the Wildcats' 40-26 season-opening loss to Louisville.

"He's a heck of a quarterback," Murray State coach Joe Pannunzio said. "He made some great throws. I don't know how a quarterback of his size can move like that. He has great escapability."

Kentucky scored 16 points in less than 21/2 minutes spanning the first and second quarters.

Derek Abney returned a punt 25 yards to the Murray State 28, then leapt over two defenders to catch an 11-yard touchdown pass from Lorenzen with 22 seconds left in the first quarter.

Two plays into Kentucky's next series, Lorenzen connected with Chris Bernard for a 60-yard touchdown.

Murray State tried to run a reverse on the ensuing kickoff, but Kentucky's Claude Sagaille stopped Terrence Biggers at the 1. Vincent Burns tackled quarterback Stewart Childress in the end zone on the next play, extending the Wildcats' lead to 16-0.

A 12-yard touchdown pass from Lorenzen to Glenn Holt made it 23-0. The Racers scored late in the half on a 5-yard touchdown run by Chad Cook.

A third-quarter fumble recovery at the Murray State 13 by Kentucky's Raymond Fontaine set up Lorenzen's final scoring pass, a 15-yarder to Alexis Bwenge on which Lorenzen scrambled for several seconds.

Backup quarterback Shane Boyd finished the scoring for Kentucky with a 27-yard fourth-quarter run.

Murray State fell to 2-11-2 all-time against Division I-A competition. The Racers finished with 189 yards of total offense, including 67 yards rushing from tailback Ron Lane.

Kentucky recorded five sacks, two by defensive end Jeremy Caudill. The six points allowed by Kentucky was the fewest surrendered by the Wildcats since a 31-5 win over Louisiana State in 1999.

"I thought we were a little bigger and a little faster and we just overpowered them," Caudill said.

Abney broke the Kentucky career record for kickoff return yardage. He has 1,673 career yards, four more than Kio Stanford recorded from 1994 through 1997.

Murray St.0600-6

First Quarter

UK-Abney 11 pass from Lorenzen (Begley kick), 0:22

Second Quarter

UK-Bernard 60 pass from Lorenzen (Begley kick), 13:10

UK-Safety, Burns tackled Childress in end zone, 13:00

UK-Holt 12 pass from Lorenzen (Begley kick), 9:21

MSU-Cook 5 run (kick failed), 3:13

Third Quarter

UK-Bwenge 15 pass from Lorenzen (Begley kick), 12:13

Fourth Quarter

UK-Boyd 27 run (Begley kick), 3:48


First downs2016
Return Yards43121
Time of Possession31:5728:03


RUSHING-Murray St., Lane 16-67, Odoms 3-16, Walker 3-15, Cook 4-11, Gallishaw 1-2, Hatchell 1-(minus 1), Childress 12-(minus 25). Kentucky, Boyd 5-57, Bwenge 7-22, Davis 10-18, Abney 1-14, Beach 3-6, Lorenzen 3-(minus 14).

PASSING-Murray St., Childress 13-27-1-100, Hatchell 1-2-0-4, Team 0-1-0-0. Kentucky, Lorenzen 14-21-1-197, Boyd 1-3-0-8.

RECEIVING-Murray St., Green 3-36, Nowacki 2-20, Baxter 2-12, Roddy 2-12, Nutter 2-11, Lane 1-9, Arnold 1-4. Kentucky, Abney 3-32, Drobney 3-29, Bernard 2-64, Holt 2-32, Boyd 2-9, Johnson 1-18, Bwenge 1-15, Cook 1-6.

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