WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Cats try Smith in second half, look for spark

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Kentucky hoped a change of quarterbacks
might give it a chance to stage an unlikely upset of No. 1 LSU.
Instead, Maxwell Smith wound up flat on his face after a fumble,
his jaw and back hurting, while the Tigers followed cornerback
Tryann Mathieu into the end zone to celebrate his latest big play.
Neither Smith nor Wildcats starter Morgan Newton posed much of a
threat to LSU, whose defense turned in a dominant five-sack
performance in a 35-7 Tigers win on Saturday.
"We just thought we needed a spark and wanted to give Morgan a
chance to sit back and watch the game from a distance," Kentucky
coach Joker Phillips said. "Max missed a blitz check and gave up a
sack for a touchdown."
Kentucky (2-3, 0-2 SEC) did not score until Newton hit Matt
Roark with a 4-yard TD pass with 6:09 left to play.
"Morgan made a couple of plays down the stretch, but he had to
play better than he is playing right now," Phillips said. "He is
not playing fast and holding the ball way too long."
Kentucky finished with only 155 total yards, with freshman Josh
Clemons rushing for 69 yards on 21 carries.
While the Wildcats had changed quarterbacks because Phillips
thought he needed to, LSU coach Les Miles made a couple switches at
quarterback because he could.
Jordan Jefferson, back from a suspension after a grand jury
reduced charges stemming from an Aug. 19 bar fight to a
misdemeanor, scored on his first play, a 1-yard keeper on fourth
and goal.
"We will use Jefferson in a variety of ways," said Miles, who
did not allow Jefferson to speak with reporters after the game.
"At different times in the season, we will need every skill and
every collective attribute of our team."
Miles also stressed that the starter remains Jarrett Lee, who
hit Odell Beckham Jr. for a spectacular 51-yard score, their second
touchdown connection of 50-plus yards in two games.
Mathieu also continued to cause mayhem for opposing offenses,
setting an LSU record for career forced fumbles with two strips,
one of which led to his 23-yard scoop and score in the third
quarter to make it 28-0.
While Lee, Mathieu and Beckham had all played roles in four
previous victories that lifted LSU (5-0, 2-0 SEC) to the top of the
rankings, Jefferson's return added a new wrinkle.
After the touchdown, when boos were drowned out by cheers,
Jefferson celebrated with Lee and gave high fives to the entire
offensive line.
"We know he can come in and make plays, he's won big ball games
for us before, so it's not an issue at all," Lee said. "We're
happy to have him back. He's got a great attitude. He's a great
person. ... If he needs to come in and make a play for us, the team
is OK with that."
Newton missed on his first nine throws and completed only 2 of
11 passes in the first half, when he was sacked three times.
Phillips gave Smith his chance in the second half, but he fared
even worse, completing only one of five attempts and turning the
ball over when he was flattened by a swarm of Tigers.
Mathieu got to Smith first and swatted the ball loose just as
several LSU defenders arrived and steamrolled the quarterback, who
lay face-down while Mathieu scooped up the ball and took off for
the end zone.
That was the third forced fumble this season for Mathieu, a true
sophomore, and the second he had returned for a score. The player
LSU fans call "honey badger," after the popular YouTube clip
featuring the small but ferocious animal, later forced another
fumble, the ninth of his career, two more than the previous LSU
record.
"We have a scheme going into every game and luckily right now
it has involved me blitzing the quarterback a lot and getting the
chance to make a bunch of plays," Mathieu said. "Every time I get
the chance to blitz I am going to go get them."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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