Kentucky Downs Connecticut 45-14 After Struggling Early
Sept. 11, 1999
By TIM WHITMIRE
AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Dusty Bonner threw for four touchdowns and ran for oneas Kentucky overcame early struggles to beat Division I-AA Connecticut 45-14 onSaturday.
Two early fumbles by Kentucky's Anthony White and a 99-yard Connecticuttouchdown drive that ate up most of the second quarter gave the Huskies (0-2) abrief 14-7 lead and had a handful of Commonwealth Stadium fans booing theWildcats (1-1).
Kentucky drove for a touchdown just before the half, took the lead with athird-quarter field goal and poured on 28 points in the fourth quarter, finallywearing down Connecticut on both sides of the ball.
Apparently angered by the late scoring surge, Connecticut coach Randy Edsallleft the field without shaking hands with Kentucky coach Hal Mumme.
"You saw what we did. That speaks for itself," Edsall said.
Bonner was 34-of-40 for 339 yards without an interception. He set a schoolrecord by completing 16 straight passes in the third and fourth quarters.
White rallied from his early turnovers to rush for 119 yards and twotouchdowns. He also had 39 receiving yards, including a 9-yard scoring passfrom Bonner.
Connecticut's John Fitzsimmons caught 10 passes for 87 yards. QuarterbackBrian Hoffmann was 15-of-29 for 123 yards and one touchdown, throwing oneinterception.
For most of three quarters, the game threatened to be the low point ofKentucky coach Hal Mumme's two-plus seasons in Lexington. One week after losingthe opener to Louisville 56-28, the Wildcats looked clumsy and ineffectiveagainst fired-up Connecticut.
Kentucky opened with a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive which finished witha 3-yard pass from Bonner to James Whalen, the tight end's fourth touchdown intwo games.
Connecticut went three-and-out on its first possession, but a 71-yard puntby Mike Morelli pinned the Wildcats on their 1. On the first play, White lostcontrol of the ball as he tried to dive forward out of the end zone.
Recovering on the 6, Connecticut tied the game immediately, with Hoffmannfinding fullback John Taxiltaridis for the touchdown.
White's second fumble killed another Kentucky drive, and the score was stilltied when a Kentucky punt was downed at the Connecticut 1 with 11:41 left inthe half.
It took 20 plays, three converted third downs and two first downs onKentucky penalties for the Huskies to march downfield, eating up nearly 10minutes. When Taber Small bulled 9 yards into the end zone with 1:42 left inthe half, it was 14-7 Huskies.
Kentucky responded with a quick eight-play drive, tying it just before thehalf on a 6-yard pass from Bonner to Quentin McCord.
Marc Samuels' 21-yard field goal field goal with 2:05 left in the thirdquarter gave the Wildcats a 17-14 lead before Kentucky's school-record fourfourth-quarter touchdowns turned the game into a rout.
The first was set up by a bad Connecticut punt, and the second by safetyAnthony Wajda's 14-yard interception return to the Connecticut 22. White went 9yards on a catch-and-run to put Kentucky up 31-14 with 9:02 left.