Scores

Final

UL Monroe 40

(2-8, 1-4 Sun Belt)

Kentucky 42

(7-4, 4-3 SEC)

1:00 PM ET, November 18, 2006

Commonwealth Stadium, LEXINGTON, KY

1 2 3 4 T
ULM 10 10 14 640
UK 14 14 14 042

Top Performers

Passing: A. Woodson (UK) - 359 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: C. Dawson (ULM) - 26 CAR, 179 YDS, 3 TD

Receiving: K. Burton (UK) - 9 REC, 115 YDS, 3 TD

Burton gives Kentucky first winning season since 2002

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- If Kentucky was a lock for a bowl berth, Louisiana-Monroe came dangerously close to playing locksmith.

A record-breaking performance by Wildcat receiver Keenan Burton nearly unraveled because of a porous defense, but Kentucky held on for a 42-40 victory Saturday, clinching its first winning season since 2002.

"I was fearful of a letdown and I think we had a little bit of a letdown," coach Rich Brooks said. "We need to get our swagger back on defense."

But Burton caught three touchdown passes to give him a school-record fourth straight game with multiple receiving scores. The new mark broke the old one teammate Dicky Lyons Jr. set in the season's first three games.

Lyons called Burton the best receiver in the Southeastern Conference, but Burton credited Lyons and quarterback Andre Woodson for making his job easier.

Burton's third score Saturday, a 25-yarder from Woodson, extended Kentucky's lead to 8 points late in the fourth quarter and moved Woodson into a tie for third on the Wildcats' all-time list with 27 touchdown passes this year.

"The reason I'm maturing is because my quarterback is maturing," Burton said. "When he's maturing, the whole team's maturing."

Monroe quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster led the Warhawks downfield and scored on a one-yard sneak, cutting the lead to 2 with a minute left. But Lancaster couldn't reach the end zone on the 2-point conversion try.

The Wildcats recovered an onside kick attempt and ran the clock down to four seconds, but then fumbled to give the Warhawks the ball back at midfield for one last play. Lancaster completed only a short pass before time expired.

Kentucky (7-4, 4-3 SEC) was already eligible for its first bowl game since 1999 and can clinch second place in the SEC East by winning its regular season finale at No. 22 Tennessee. The Wildcats have finished no higher than third since the conference established divisions in 1992.

"It's definitely relieving to get our seventh win," Woodson said. "We were glad to pull away with this one today, and it feels great."

Kentucky trailed after three quarters when Calvin Dawson scored his third touchdown on a one-yard plunge, and the extra point put Louisiana-Monroe on top 34-33. But the Wildcats took the lead for good four minutes later on a 34-yard field goal by Lones Seiber.

Although the Kentucky offense has dominated this year, the defense -- particularly the run defense -- struggled again Saturday.

Kentucky led by 18 midway through the second quarter after an 84-yard punt return down the right sideline by Rafael Little -- the seventh-longest punt return score in Kentucky history. Louisiana-Monroe (2-8, 1-4 Sun Belt) would follow with a 3-yard touchdown run by Dawson and add a 41-yard field goal by Cole Wilson to cut the Wildcats' lead to 28-20 at halftime.

Dawson then dominated the Warhawks' opening possession of the second half. On consecutive, plays he ran for 24 and 16 yards before skipping into the end zone untouched from nine yards out.

"We just came up a little bit short," Monroe coach Charlie Weatherbie said. "I think this football team is really headed for greatness."

A sack by Kentucky defensive end Myron Pryor forced the Warhawks to punt from deep in their own territory, but punter Kevin Payne bobbled the snap out of the back of the end zone. That gave the Wildcats a safety and possession, which produced a 26-yard field goal by Seiber, stretching the lead back to six.

Louisiana-Monroe led early when Travis Eickman leaped into the air to block Seiber's 25-yard field goal attempt on Kentucky's first possession, and Greg James scooped it to travel 78 yards for the touchdown.

The Wildcats made the most of their opportunity on their next drive. Little took a handoff and spun through two defenders to sprint 46 yards and put Kentucky in position. Then backup running back Alfonso Smith plowed through to score from eight yards out and tie the game at 7.

Cole Wilson managed a high snap and nailed a 45-yard field goal to put the Warhawks back in front 10-7.

Kentucky regained the lead at the end of the opening quarter when Woodson found Burton wide open for a 37-yard touchdown reception. Burton also scored from 17 yards.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
ULM
UK
1st Downs2824
Total Yards501457
Passing150359
Rushing35198
Penalties11-1025-45
3rd Down Conversions9-132-10
4th Down Conversions0-12-4
Turnovers11
Possession34:0725:53

Passing Leaders

Louisiana-MonroeC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
McNeal1/252.500-
Payne1/2178.500-
KentuckyC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Woodson25/3535910.330-

Rushing Leaders

Louisiana-MonroeCARYDSAVGTDLG
Dawson261796.9324
Lancaster14856.1125
KentuckyCARYDSAVGTDLG
Little19824.3014
Smith5255.019

Receiving Leaders

Louisiana-MonroeRECYDSAVGTDLG
Sapp410426.0037
Dawson2189.0017
KentuckyRECYDSAVGTDLG
Burton911512.8337
Lyons Jr.67913.2032

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERULMUK
TD10:31GREG JAMES 78 YD BLOCKED FG RETURN (COLE WILSON KICK)70
TD8:51ALFONSO SMITH 8 YD RUN (LONES SEIBER KICK)
Drive info: 5 plays, 65 yards.
77
FG4:37COLE WILSON 45 YD FG
Drive info: 10 plays, 52 yards.
107
TD0:04KEENAN BURTON 37 YD PASS FROM ANDRE' WOODSON (LONES SEIBER KICK)
Drive info: 11 plays, 87 yards.
1014
SECOND QUARTERULMUK
TD12:17KEENAN BURTON 17 YD PASS FROM ANDRE' WOODSON (LONES SEIBER KICK)
Drive info: 4 plays, 48 yards.
1021
TD8:58RAFAEL LITTLE 84 YD PUNT RETURN (LONES SEIBER KICK)1028
TD3:51CALVIN DAWSON 3 YD RUN (COLE WILSON KICK)
Drive info: 11 plays, 68 yards.
1728
FG0:04COLE WILSON 41 YD FG
Drive info: 6 plays, 38 yards.
2028
THIRD QUARTERULMUK
TD12:29CALVIN DAWSON 9 YD RUN (COLE WILSON KICK)
Drive info: 7 plays, 65 yards.
2728
S8:38TEAM SAFETY2730
FG6:13LONES SEIBER 26 YD FG
Drive info: 6 plays, 52 yards.
2733
TD2:57CALVIN DAWSON 1 YD RUN (COLE WILSON KICK)
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yards.
3433
FOURTH QUARTERULMUK
FG14:08LONES SEIBER 34 YD FG
Drive info: 9 plays, 38 yards.
3436
TD8:17KEENAN BURTON 25 YD PASS FROM ANDRE' WOODSON (MISSED KICK)
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yards.
3442
TD0:54KINSMON LANCASTER 1 YD RUN (FAILED 2PT RUSH)
Drive info: 15 plays, 65 yards.
4042