Kentucky beats Louisville In Bluegrass Biggie - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Kentucky beats Louisville In Bluegrass Biggie

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Derrick Locke ran for two touchdowns and

Kentucky held off rival Louisville 23-16 Saturday, keeping the

Governor's Cup for the fourth straight season and making Joker

Phillips victorious in a matchup of longtime friends debuting as

head coaches.

Phillips, who gained prominence as a coordinator of a

record-breaking offense at his alma mater, has hinted this 2010

version could be as good as the Andre Woodson-led unit of three and

four years ago. The Wildcats didn't disappoint in the opener,

gobbling up yardage in bulk - particularly on the ground from

 

Locke

For Charlie Strong, who once coached alongside Phillips at South

Carolina and more recently guided Florida's dominating defense to

two national titles in seven years, the rebuilding project has

begun at Louisville.

Kentucky scored all but three of its points in the first half

before the offense began to stall. But Louisville's playmakers

couldn't match Kentucky's early intensity, and two key turnovers

sealed the Wildcats' first four-game winning streak since the

annual series renewed in 1994.

It didn't take Phillips long to put his own stamp on a program

he inherited from his mentor, Rich Brooks, who led it to four

consecutive bowl appearances.

After winning the toss and electing to receive - something

Brooks would never do - Kentucky needed just two explosive plays to

go 70 yards for the game's first points.

The game also marked a return to the lineup for senior

quarterback Mike Hartline, who missed seven of the Wildcats' final

eight games last season and had to fend off a challenge from two

talented underclassmen for the starting job.

First, Hartline connected with La'Rod King on a 38-yard pass.

Then, Locke burst through the line, made one spin move and ran

untouched to the end zone from 32 yards out.

The Wildcats committed no turnovers, largely thanks to the

efficient play of Hartline, who connected on 17 of 26 passes for

217 yards.

Kentucky went even farther - 82 yards - on its second scoring

drive. Locke got the ball on six of the Wildcats' 10 plays in that

drive, including a 1-yard sweep for his second TD in the opening

quarter.

With Kentucky's offense already clicking, it was playmaker

Randall Cobb's turn to prove he is still the star.

Cobb showed his athletic ability by leaping into the air and

catching a lob with only his left hand - one of just two catches he

made in the game. Instead, he did his damage in the return game and

on the ground, and even as quarterback in the final drive as

Kentucky iced the game.

One snap after making his dazzling catch, Cobb took the ball on

an end-around and cruised down the sideline 51 yards - Kentucky's

third and final touchdown of the game.

Kentucky had built a 17-lead at that point, and a possible

blowout was brewing. Although the Wildcats never appeared in

serious jeopardy of letting the lead slip away, it was more

Louisville's mistakes that allowed them to hold on.

A holding penalty caused the Cardinals to squander a trip to the

Kentucky 5 just before halftime, managing only a field goal. The

Wildcats led 20-6 at the break.

While Kentucky showed off the far more balanced attack,

Louisville got a career-best game from senior running back Bilal

Powell, who rushed for 153 yards. He got 80 of those on a

third-quarter touchdown run, easily his longest ever, which cut the

lead to 23-13 midway through the third quarter.

A third Chris Philpott field goal trimmed the score to the final

margin, but Kentucky's defense ended other Louisville threats at a

comeback, halting consecutive late drives with turnovers. Mycyal

Bailey intercepted a pass from Adam Froman, who completed just 14

of 29 passes. Then, Ridge Wilson scooped up a ball that slipped out

of Powell's hands.

One of the few low points for Kentucky was the performance of

kicker Ryan Tydlacka, who missed an extra point and a chip field

goal attempt that could have stretched the lead.

 

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

Powered by Frankly