UK dominates Akron 47-10


during the second half of UK’s win over Akron at home on Saturday, September 18, 2010. Photo by Britney McIntosh

UK wasn’t perfect in Saturday’s romp over Akron. But players and coaches said the team did everything they hoped it would for the first time this season, taking a final step forward before its biggest test yet this season.

The Cats spent their final week before Southeastern Conference play began shoring up mistakes that had been made in the first two weeks. UK rolled up 544 yards of offense while cruising to a 47-10 win over Akron, with the coaches hailing the victory as the Cats’ first “60-minute game.”

Defensive coordinator Steve Brown said he lost sleep after his unit gave up 28 points to Western Kentucky last week, but acknowledged that the team took a step forward against Akron. Zips quarterback Patrick Nicely went 4-for-19 for 57 yards, and five different UK defenders registered a sack on him. After a week of chatter about UK’s defensive shortcomings, junior linebacker Danny Trevathan had plenty of motivation.

“Going into this game, I feel like the defense had a point to prove,” Trevathan said. “The run can be stopped and by God, it’s going to be stopped.”

Akron gained 22 rushing yards on 29 carries.

The offense did just as well, as most of UK’s arsenal made significant contributions. Senior quarterback Mike Hartline cruised while completing 21 of 29 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns, and senior tailback Derrick Locke rushed 17 times for a career-high 166 yards and two scores. Junior receiver Randall Cobb had five catches for 43 yards and a touchdown, and senior receiver Chris Matthews had his second touchdown reception of the season.

That was before the backups got in on the action. Reserve tailbacks Donald Russell, Raymond Sanders and CoShik Williams combined for 101 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Hartline said the offense was able to do everything he hoped it could.

“There definitely was times when we could have made more plays,” Hartline said. “We had a couple drops, and a couple schemes we could have gone into that could have given us a chance to make some plays downfield. Overall, it was good, though. When you put up 500-plus yards as an offense, it feels great.”

If there was an issue, it was that the Cats had six penalties called on them for 60 yards. But five of those calls came before halftime, and once UK recovered from a slow first quarter, there was no stopping them.

Just as impressive, UK didn’t turn the ball over once. The Cats have yet to issue a turnover this season. UK head coach Joker Phillips bristled when a reporter mentioned that UK still hadn’t lost a fumble or thrown an interception this season, knocking on the wooden desk he sat at for good luck.

“We stress that a lot,” Phillips said. “Our plan to win is to win the turnover battle. Late in the game, that’s the thing that I’ve been stressing.”

By the end of the third quarter, UK had outgained Akron 459 yards to 79. A garbage time drive and touchdown by the Zips against UK’s reserve defenders helped save face, even though it was all but meaningless. By that time, the Cats already had a 47-3 lead and were mentally moving on to for Florida.

“Now conference play starts and it’s going to be one of those battles that you can’t relax,” Phillips said. “You cannot relax and not be focused at any point in the game. You cannot come out and sleepwalk because you’ll be down 14, 21 points.”


Senior tailback Derrick Locke finished the game with over 2,103 career rushing yards. He’s three yards shy of moving into sixth place on UK’s career rushing list, and has rushed for over 100 yards each game this season … Senior quarterback Mike Hartline went over 3,000 career passing yards when he completed a 9-yard pass to Locke in the second quarter. He’s 10th on UK’s all-time passing list … UK head coach Joker Phillips became the first coach since Paul “Bear” Bryant to start his career at UK 3-0 … Freshman kicker Joe Mansour had five touchbacks and sophomore kicker Craig McIntosh registered his first and second career field goals in the first half … UK’s offense has rushed for 200 yards and passed for 200 yards in each game this season. The Cats 544 yards was the most the offense had registered since it put up 564 yards in a four-overtime game against Tennessee in 2007. The 172 yards the defense surrendered was the fewest since 2008.