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LSU defense stops Wildcats

November 3, 1997

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ It took some big defensive plays before No. 14 LSU could overpower Kentucky with its offense.

LSU amassed a season-high 613 total yards, including 400 on the ground in producing eight rushing touchdowns, in overwhelming Kentucky 63-28 on Saturday night.

``Our mindset was stopping Kentucky and to keep going on offense,″ said Rondell Mealey, who rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns. ``We knew we could score, but it was a matter of time and our defense stopping them. Our defense came up big and stopped Kentucky.″

Kentucky (4-5, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) led 21-20 at the half, but turned the ball over on its first three possessions in the third quarter as LSU (6-2, 4-2) took control of the game.

After Kentucky took the kickoff to open the third quarter and drove to the LSU 17, Derek Homer fumbled to Clarence LeBlanc, who returned it to the Kentucky 43. Eight plays later, Herb Tyler ran around left end from 6 yards out to give LSU a 28-21 lead.

On Kentucky’s next possession, James Whalen fumbled after a reception at the Kentucky 24. Joe Wesley picked up the ball and returned it to the 8. On the next play, Kevin Faulk raced around right end for a 35-21 advantage.

On the second play of Kentucky’s next possession, Chris Cummings picked off Tim Couch’s pass at the LSU 30. It took LSU just four plays to move 70 yards for another score, this time Faulk’s 4-yard run off right tackle for a 42-21 lead with 5:56 remaining in the period.

``LSU seized the chance and took the game,″ said Couch, who completed touchdown passes of 2 yards to Lance Mickelsen, 11 to Kevin Coleman and 32 to Anthony White to give Kentucky the halftime lead.

Couch tossed an 8-yard scoring pass to Coleman to trim the margin to 42-28 with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter to temporarily halt LSU’s onslaught.

Faulk, who had a 21-yard TD in the second quarter, added scoring runs of 19 and 21 yards in the fourth quarter as LSU outscored Kentucky 43-7 in the second half. Faulk finished with 212 yards and a school-record five rushing touchdowns.

``We came into the game think we could establish our running game ant that is what we did,″ Faulk said.

LSU took a 12-0 lead in the opening period on Mealey’s 29-yard run and Tyler’s 6-yard pass to Kendall Cleveland. Mealey added a 2-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

Tyler completed 15-of-20 passes for a season-high 213 yards, with Larry Foster catching five for 61 yards.

Couch set one national and three SEC records in a losing effort. His four TD passes give him 34, two more than the NCAA season record for a sophomore set by BYU’s Ty Detmer in 1989 and matched by Houston’s Jimmy Klingler in 1992.

Couch tied SEC records with 66 attempts and 41 completions, the latter matching his week-old record, and set an SEC season record of 311 completions, breaking the mark of 286 set by Vanderbilt’s Kurt Page in 1983.

Couch passed for 410 yards as Kentucky finished with 529 yards of offense. Anthony White rushed nine times for 63 yards and caught nine passes for 76.

Kentucky also finished the game with 42-of-67 passing, setting league marks in both categories.

Kentucky coach Hal Mumme wasn’t pleased with his team’s overall performance.

``The main thing that showed up was our lack of depth on defense and our lack of experience on offense,″ he said.

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