LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Mike Hartline passed for 272 yards and two
touchdowns, and Kentucky pulled away from Charleston Southern 49-21 on Saturday.
The Buccaneers tied Kentucky 14-14 with just less than 6 minutes
left in the second quarter but Kentucky rallied with two touchdowns
before halftime. Kentucky (5-5) won its 19th consecutive non-conference game, a streak dating back to 2006.
The win was Kentucky's second since Sept. 25, the result of
several close calls in the Southeastern Conference. Now one win
away from bowl eligibility, Kentucky has two games left to earn
that sixth win: Nov. 13 against Vanderbilt and Nov. 27 at Tennessee.
"We need this momentum, we need this feeling," Kentucky coach
Joker Phillips said. "We've been in this locker room for five our of the last six weeks that we haven't had this feeling. So I think this is the momentum that we need to carry us through the rest of the season."
Kentucky struggled to take advantage of opportunities given to
it by the Buccaneers, especially in the first half. On Kentucky's
first play from scrimmage, a pass from Hartline to wide receiver
Randall Cobb was batted around and almost intercepted. With the
opportunity to take a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter,
Hartline lofted a pass toward the end zone, which Buccaneers'
defensive back Chris Kuzdale picked.
Cobb finished with 101 yards and a touchdown on four catches.
Cobb has scored or passed for a touchdown in nine of Kentucky's 10
games this season.
"I don't think guys were motivated as much as they needed to be
today," Cobb said. "It is kind of hard to get motivated for games
like these, but you have to find a way and you have to continue to
push through it."
Contributing to Charleston Southern sticking around early was
Malcolm Dixon. A true freshman listed as a wide receiver on the
Buccaneers' roster, Dixon lined up at quarterback on the game's
Before Saturday, Dixon had no career rushes, receptions or pass
attempts. Coach Jay Mills said he planned on redshirting Dixon but
a preseason injury prevented that. Dixon was moved from receiver to
quarterback, and back to receiver based on the team's weekly injury
report. Now he's back at quarterback.
"I had to check the roster to see (who it was)," Phillips
said. "I mean, he had never lined up at quarterback that we had
seen. He obviously was in the game to run the football, and he's a
good athlete and he did a really good job of running their
Dixon finished 96 yards rushing and 45 yards passing as what
Phillips called the Buccaneers' Wildcat-formation quarterback.
Andrew Trudnowski passed for 84 yards and a touchdown for the
Senior running back Derrick Locke missed his fourth straight
game after suffering a shoulder stinger against Auburn on Oct. 9.
CoShik Williams finished with 13 carries for 95 yards and three
touchdowns. Sophomore Donald Russell had 10 carries for 110 yards
and two touchdowns.
After what senior defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin called a
frustrating start, the Wildcats allowed only seven points and 102
yards total offense after halftime.
"I was more disappointed in how they got the 14 points,"
Lumpkin said. "We had the ball and turned it over in the end zone,
they got it at the 20. They drove all the way down the field and
scored. That's not supposed to happen, I don't care who you're
playing against. We have to at least hold them to a field goal or
keep them on that side of the 50 and try to get the ball back."
Phillips has acknowledged the dichotomy between Kentucky's first
and second halves this season. The Wildcats allowed just six points
after halftime in a 37-34 loss to No. 3 Auburn, and they shut out
No. 18 South Carolina in the second half of their only SEC win this
But Phillips said the feeling was different this week.
"You know, you felt like you had control, but you didn't have
control," Phillips said.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)