Posted: Wednesday December 29, 1999 08:09 PM
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Syracuse finally was able to get the ball to wide receiver Quinton Spotwood, and it enabled running back James Mungro to have a breakout game.
Mungro set up one touchdown with an 82-yard scamper and scored twice in the fourth quarter to lift the Orangemen to a 20-13 victory over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.
A 5-10 sophomore, Mungro put Syracuse (7-5) ahead for good with a 32-yard run midway through the final period and added a 20-yard touchdown run with 1:40 to play when Kentucky (6-6) allowed him to go up the middle untouched so it could get back the ball.
The Orangemen failed on the ensuing two-point conversion try and the Wildcats drove to the Syracuse 41-yard line before Dusty Bonner's "Hail Mary" pass fell incomplete well short of the end zone.
The game was marred by an injury to Kentucky's James Whalen, who is considered one of the nation's top tight ends. A senior, Whalen caught four passes for 79 yards before suffering a dislocated right elbow with 7 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter.
Syracuse won its first postseason game since defeating Houston in the 1996 Liberty Bowl.
Much of Syracuse's success was due to Spotwood, who caught five passes for 84 yards. He struggled throughout the season, as did the Orangemen's passing game, but today they opened up the field.
Troy Nunes completed 6-of-9 passes for 79 yards, while Madei Williams was 6-of-7 for 76 yards for Syracuse. Running back Dee Brown also lined up behind center on a few occasions.
With Whalen leading the way, Kentucky appeared unstoppable early. The Wildcats went 79 yards in seven plays on the game's first possession and took the lead on Kendrick Shanklin's three-yard run.
Following a fumble by Brown, Kentucky reached the Syracuse 5-yard line before Whalen's injury and had to settle for Marc Samuel's 22-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.
But Samuel had a short field goal attempt blocked late in the second quarter and the Orangemen took advantage as Mungro, who carried 12 times for 170 yards, burst up the middle and raced 82 yards before being caught at the Kentucky 3 by safety Willie Gary.
Two plays later, Kyle Johnson's two-yard run got the Orangemen on the scoreboard with 1:56 to play in the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Samuel booted a 35-yard field goal 4:21 into the final period to cap a 13-play drive and provide the Wildcats with a 13-7 advantage.
Bonner was 27-of-41 for 231 yards for Kentucky, which was held to its second-lowest point total of the season. He also led the Wildcats in rushing with only 14 yards on seven carries.
Anthony White caught eight passes for 85 yards for Kentucky, while Shanklin added 31 yards on four receptions.
The Wildcats, playing in a second straight bowl game for the first time since 1983-84, are riding a three-game postseason losing streak.
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