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11/17/2012 11:15 PM EST
Kentucky rolls over Samford 34-3
KENTUCKY 34, SAMFORD 3
By GARY GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Freshman Jalen Whitlow passed for one
touchdown and ran for another, Raymond Sanders rushed for a
career-high 123 yards and a TD and Kentucky blew out Samford
34-3 Saturday night to end an eight-game losing streak.
The Wildcats (2-9) scored their highest point total since
beating Kent State 47-14 on Sept. 8. Kentucky's skid led to the
Nov. 4 firing of coach Joker Phillips, who will finish the
season on Saturday at Tennessee.
Whitlow completed 10 of 13 passes for 66 yards and an 11-yard
touchdown to senior wide receiver Gene McCaskill. He also rushed
for a 20-yard touchdown and finished with 59 yards on seven
Sanders rushed for a 14-yard touchdown that made it 24-3.
Tristian Johnson followed with a 25-yard fumble return for a
Kentucky, which scored on six of its first eight drives,
outgained Samford 455-102 including 342 rushing compared to
minus-2 for Samford.
Dyshawn Mobley rushed for 82 yards on 16 carries and Jonathan
George added 76 on 17 attempts.
Craig McIntosh kicked field goals of 35 and 43 yards as Kentucky
won its third straight home finale.
Cameron Yaw's 41-yard field goal provided the only points for
To put Kentucky's win in perspective, consider these numbers:
The Wildcats' 31 first-half points alone were their most since a
32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky that started their skid.
Kentucky's 266 first-half yards were six more than it totaled in
a 40-0 loss to Vanderbilt here two weeks ago, the breaking point
leading to Phillips' firing the next day.
Even more impressive, the Wildcats held Bulldogs running back
Fabian Truss to just 37 yards a week after he rushed for a
career-high 219 against Elon. And they hadn't held an opponent
below 200 yards since limiting Akron to 172 on Sept. 18, 2010.
It didn't matter that Kentucky was facing Football Championship
Subdivision member Samford for the first time. After going
winless for more than two months the Wildcats were just
desperate for a victory and the Bulldogs entered the game on a
two-game winning streak.
Sentiment also drove Kentucky, which honored 19 seniors in a
pregame ceremony. Though their presence has been somewhat
overshadowed this season by 46 freshmen and sophomores playing
substantial minutes, the underclassmen wanted to make sure the
veterans' home finale was memorable.
That feeling extended to Phillips, who chose to coach Kentucky'
final two games but stressed all week that he didn't want to be
a distraction on a night devoted to his departing players.
McCaskill made his case for Kentucky's seniors on the opening
He capped a 14-play, 69-yard drive by pulling in Whitlow's
11-yard pass for a touchdown that set the tone for a performance
last seen against Kent State.
Whitlow made it 14-0 on the next possession with a nifty 20-yard
touchdown run in which he initially hesitated, then cut through
the middle and the right before getting outside and clearing the
It followed a bizarre play in which nobody - except Samford
defensive end Brinson Porter - was sure if officials had blown
the play dead. There was no whistle, Porter kept on charging and
dropped Sanders for a 3-yard loss.
That was one of few first-half highlights for the Bulldogs, who
gained just 56 yards in the first half. Even when Samford
recovered Sanders' goal-line fumble, its drive went nowhere and
Greg Peranich's subsequent punt went just 31 yards.
Sanders sprinted 14 yards for Kentucky's third TD four plays
later for a 24-3 lead.
Another miscue followed on the Bulldogs' next possession when
Summerfield fumbled while being sacked by Donte Rumph. Tristian
Johnson scooped up the loose ball and returned it 25 yards for
the touchdown that made it 31-3.
The Wildcats could have scored another touchdown when Demarco
Robinson returned a punt 56 yards, but Rashad Cunningham was
called for a personal foul.
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