Notes from Home on Homecoming

Kentucky's offensive offensiveness continues. To put this into context, two other bunches of Wildcats in NCAA I-A football, those of Kansas State and Northwestern, have put up more points in their games last week than Kentucky's Wildcats have accumulated over their games the last three weeks (47). Kansas State beat Iowa State 56-10, and Northwestern topped 12th ranked Michigan 54-51.

· Northwestern won its second game in a row by virtue of a touchdown pass with less than 30 seconds remaining in the contest. On October 30, NU quarterback Zak Kustok tossed a Hail Mary touchdown with no time left to beat then-22nd ranked Minnesota. Last week against the Wolverines, Kustok completed a TD with :20 on the clock.

·The Northwestern Wildcats (7-2) are averaging 38.4 points per game. The Kansas State Wildcats (8-2), 43.3. The Arizona Wildcats (5-4), 26.4. The Kentucky Wildcats (2-7), 23.7.

· During the Mumme era, the Cats averaged 31.6 points/game in 1997, 37.9 in 1998 and 28.7 in 1999.

· Kentucky managed 17 points last Saturday and allowed Mississippi State 35. UK is now 42-13 in homecoming games since 1946.

· The arm of UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen was responsible for more Miss. St. points (12) than Kentucky points (8). MSU safety Eugene Clinton intercepted a Lorenzen pass on the Wildcats first drive of the game and returned it 81 yards for a score. In the fourth quarter, State's defensive end Ivan Billie took a Lorenzen fumble 25 yards into the end zone. For his team, Lorenzen tossed a 13-yard TD to Quentin McCord in the second quarter and dumped a pass to Derek Smith for a 2-point conversion with about a minute left in the game.

Kentucky football did post one victory last Saturday, and it came at halftime. Seth Hanson, the Cats junior kicker, was named homecoming king. This was the first time that anyone in the football office could remember a player being crowned king.

When Hanson was tardy in returning to the field from the locker room for the half-time coronation ceremony (because he had to remove his shoulder pads), his mother, Ann, was getting worried and noticeably nervous, as mothers do. "If Seth doesn't make it back out to the field in time for this, I'll never let him live this down."

Said Hanson, who was scowling for a good bit of the ritual: "I was still thinking about the extra point [that he missed after the Cats scored with 6:50 remaining in the first half] to be honest. I probably wasn't very congenial with the other contestants, and I apologize about that. But you can't help but think about the game more... than half-time activities."

Hanson's extra point miss - which seemed to be resultant from a poor snap and shaky hold - was his first of this season. He's now 19 for 20 on the year and will fall short of his goal of perfection. Brian Johnson has the UK record for season and career PAT percentage, going 15-15 in 1996, 16-16 in 1997, and 40-40 for his career.

The Kentucky kicker is still among the top 25 nationally in field goal kicking, according to Among those in the top 25, only Hanson is listed a "P" (for punter). He's the first Kentucky footballer to both punt and place kick since Lou Michaels in 1957. Michaels also played tackle. Don't expect Hanson to.

But last week marked the first time this season Hanson didn't handle the punting duties. Instead, Glenn Pakulak drew the assignment and did well with it. Pakulak averaged 40.2 yards per punt, with a long of 46 yards. Hanson has averaged 37.1 yards per punt with a 55-yard long.

· UK punters are averaging 36.3 yards per punt more than UK punt returners are averaging per return. (If you can even denote 1.1 yards as a "return.")

· In Mumme's go-for-broke offensive system, UK punters have booted the ball only 37 times so far this season. The Cats had 49 punt attempts last year. The record for punts in a season is 91 by Jimmy Carter in 1996, Bill Curry's final year as coach.

· In 1996, Kentucky averaged 12.5 points per game. Its record was 4-7.

· In 1994, Kentucky scored a beefy 13.5 points per game. However, its record was 1-10. Why's '94 significant? Because it is the last season prior to this one that the Cats lost six in a row. (That year Kentucky lost 10 straight.)

After UK fumbled on the 1-yard-line in the fourth quarter against State, one beleaguered Cat fan in section 131 hollered, "Bring back Curry!"

Ummm... yeah. Certainly there'll be some changes in Mumme's staff at season's end, but let's try to remain rational.

Because no matter how frustrated fans get with Mumme's attack, the phrase "Bill Curry's offense" is oxymoronic.