Kentucky 34, Samford 3

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 18, 2012
Freshman Jalen Whitlow passed for one touchdown and ran for another, Raymond Sanders rushed for a career-high 123 yards and a TD and Kentucky blew out Samford 34-3 Saturday night to end an eight-game losing streak. The Wildcats (2-9) scored their highest point total since beating Kent State 47-14 on Sept. 8. Kentucky's skid led to the Nov. 4 firing of coach Joker Phillips, who will finish the season on Saturday at Tennessee. Whitlow completed 10 of 13 passes for 66 yards and an 11-yard touchdown to senior wide receiver Gene McCaskill. He also rushed for a 20-yard touchdown and finished with 59 yards on seven carries. Sanders rushed for a 14-yard touchdown that made it 24-3. Tristian Johnson followed with a 25-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Kentucky, which scored on six of its first eight drives, outgained Samford 455-102 including 342 rushing compared to minus-2 for Samford. Dyshawn Mobley rushed for 82 yards on 16 carries and Jonathan George added 76 on 17 attempts. Craig McIntosh kicked field goals of 35 and 43 yards as Kentucky won its third straight home finale. Cameron Yaw's 41-yard field goal provided the only points for Samford (7-4). To put Kentucky's win in perspective, consider these numbers: The Wildcats' 31 first-half points alone were their most since a 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky that started their skid. Kentucky's 266 first-half yards were six more than it totaled in a 40-0 loss to Vanderbilt here two weeks ago, the breaking point leading to Phillips' firing the next day. Even more impressive, the Wildcats held Bulldogs running back Fabian Truss to just 37 yards a week after he rushed for a career-high 219 against Elon. And they hadn't held an opponent below 200 yards since limiting Akron to 172 on Sept. 18, 2010. It didn't matter that Kentucky was facing Football Championship Subdivision member Samford for the first time. After going winless for more than two months the Wildcats were just desperate for a victory and the Bulldogs entered the game on a two-game winning streak. Sentiment also drove Kentucky, which honored 19 seniors in a pregame ceremony. Though their presence has been somewhat overshadowed this season by 46 freshmen and sophomores playing substantial minutes, the underclassmen wanted to make sure the veterans' home finale was memorable. That feeling extended to Phillips, who chose to coach Kentucky' final two games but stressed all week that he didn't want to be a distraction on a night devoted to his departing players. McCaskill made his case for Kentucky's seniors on the opening drive. He capped a 14-play, 69-yard drive by pulling in Whitlow's 11-yard pass for a touchdown that set the tone for a performance last seen against Kent State. Whitlow made it 14-0 on the next possession with a nifty 20-yard touchdown run in which he initially hesitated, then cut through the middle and the right before getting outside and clearing the pile-on. It followed a bizarre play in which nobody - except Samford defensive end Brinson Porter - was sure if officials had blown the play dead. There was no whistle, Porter kept on charging and dropped Sanders for a 3-yard loss. That was one of few first-half highlights for the Bulldogs, who gained just 56 yards in the first half. Even when Samford recovered Sanders' goal-line fumble, its drive went nowhere and Greg Peranich's subsequent punt went just 31 yards. Sanders sprinted 14 yards for Kentucky's third TD four plays later for a 24-3 lead. Another miscue followed on the Bulldogs' next possession when Summerfield fumbled while being sacked by Donte Rumph. Tristian Johnson scooped up the loose ball and returned it 25 yards for the touchdown that made it 31-3. The Wildcats could have scored another touchdown when Demarco Robinson returned a punt 56 yards, but Rashad Cunningham was called for a personal foul.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Cavs, Pacers talking three-team George trade

In appreciation of Ichiro, the oldest man to play center field since at least 1900

WATCH: Adam Rosales sprints to fastest home run trot record

Report: Pacers not interested in acquiring Kevin Love

Vikings say they encouraged Floyd to drink kombucha tea

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jason Williams injured in first BIG3 game

Report: Mavs leaning toward two-year deal for Nowitzki

Spieth holes bunker shot to win Travelers Championship playoff

Tebow promoted by Mets to A-Advanced St. Lucia

Cam Newton reveals the one thing his life is missing

George denies he is already moving out of Indiana home

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker