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College Football / Week 3

Defenders Not Couch Potatoes After All

College football: When quarterback has an off game, Kentucky's defense makes big plays in 31-27 victory over Indiana.

September 20, 1998|From Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. — When Kentucky scores a 79-yard touchdown off a fake punt, it's really not a big surprise. What was a surprise in Kentucky's 31-27 victory over Indiana was the defense coming to the rescue of the Wildcats' usually high-scoring offense.

Linebacker John Rader's 45-yard interception return of a shovel pass by Indiana freshman quarterback Antwaan Randle El gave Kentucky (3-0) its first lead of the game at 31-27 early in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats, who were last in total defense in the Southeastern Conference and allowed 32.9 points a game last season, stopped the Hoosiers (1-1) on two final possessions.

Indiana was let down by its special teams, which gave up an 88-yard kickoff return leading to a Kentucky touchdown and the fake-punt-turned-touchdown-- the kind of go-for-broke call that has become second-year Coach Hal Mumme's signature.

"Mumme called the fake punt at the right time," Indiana Coach Cam Cameron said. "We knew it was coming. We just didn't execute."

Twenty of Indiana's points came after six Kentucky turnovers--including four interceptions by Tim Couch, who was 38 for 53 for 301 yards.

Kentucky's comeback from a 17-point deficit began with a pass thrown not by Couch, but by backup quarterback Matt Mumme, the coach's son.

Facing fourth and 21 from their own 21 with less than six minutes left in the third quarter, the Wildcats lined up in punt formation. Instead of punter Jimmy Carter, it was Mumme who took the snap and passed to Garry Davis for the 79-yard touchdown.

"I knew [the touchdown] was there before I got the snap," Mumme said.

Early in the fourth quarter, Indiana running back De'Wayne Hogan fumbled at the Hoosier 38, and the ball was recovered by Kentucky tackle George Massey. Two plays later, Couch threw a pass in the left flat to Anthony White, who raced down the sideline for a 48-yard touchdown.

On Indiana's next possession, Randle El tried to shovel the ball to Hogan as Kentucky defenders were trying to bring him down. The pass was grabbed by Rader, who was helped by a wall of blockers during his run for the go-ahead touchdown.

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